Northern Ireland, motorbike racing and a heritage coastline - it’s a cracker! Image
Motorbike Racing

Northern Ireland, motorbike racing and a heritage coastline - it’s a cracker!

This was all new to me. The nearest I’d got to motorbike racing on a road course was when my uncle in south London used to play a vinyl disc of sound effects from the TT when I was a kid. That is preparation of sorts, but doesn’t really allow the brain to tap into the profound excitement generated by the noise, power and speed of these amazing machines. The skill and courage of the riders is also beyond the grasp of an ordinary mortal. How do they hold their belief that they can do this incredibly dangerous sport and come through unscathed?

Image of the NW200 start grid
NW200 start grid melee
image of gary Johnson, Keith Amor and Michael Rutter racing on motorbikes
Gary Johnson, Keith Amor, and Michael Rutter

In the past few years, the weather has caused the NW200 to be cancelled twice. Last Thursday, the sun shone and a light breeze blew in from the Atlantic as we stood high on the grandstand overlooking the start grid and beautiful coastal scenery. The evening progamme of three races started with the Ballymoney Borough Council Supersport. Alastair Seeley got the holeshot on his Yamaha and roared away, popping a wheelie before taking the first bend. Man and machine at one. Awesome!

Saturday racing

The locals were delighted with their sunny weather, but on Saturday, it was business as usual as a chilly breeze blew in the rain and clouds. Most of the races were either delayed and/or shortened so that they could take advantage of the drier roads in between showers. The programme of 5 races started at about 10.30. For me, the absolute highlight was a stunning last lap dice between the local Dunlop brothers in the Eventserv Superbike race, with William taking first place, for once, on his Suzuki. There was also a bad-tempered, slow speed collision between Alastair Seeley and Lee Johnston that completely altered the result and produced some sullen post-race interviews.

Lee Johnston later went on to win the Supertwin. In my opinion, it was because he was so fired up. Michael Rutter was consistently impressive, taking second place in three races. The Australian, Josh Brookes, had a fantastic battle with Michael Dunlop and Alastair Seeley in the final NW200 Superbike race but lost it as he took the Magherabuoy chicane at unbelievable speed and ended up on the grass (although he stayed on the bike and came in second!). Michael Dunlop took the win on his BMW and was the star of this year’s NW200, with two wins and Man of the Meeting award.

Image of NW200 Jamies Cowton's Honda
NW200 James Cowton’s Honda

Tragedy – another young racer dies

When we heard that the Superstock race was red flagged, we knew something terrible had happened. The commentators at Metropole had only seen a rider less bike hurtling down the road towards them in the commentary box. Detail later emerged of a rider being airlifted to hospital. After the road cleared up, racing resumed and nothing more was said. I discovered later that Simon Andrews was in critical condition.

On Monday, I learned that he had died. I can’t think about the NW200, without the taint of this dreadful tragedy. I don’t have the stomach for death as part of a spectator sport. How Ballymoney boys, Michael and William Dunlop, continue to race? Despite the deaths of their father, Robert, in 2008 and their uncle Joey in 2000. Not to mention countless others who have died. But it must be a bigger thing that propels them; something that allows them to accept the risk and yet still desire to race, above everything. I salute them.



9 Jun 2014

For any blog enquiries, please emailmarketing@webuyanybike.comView all posts by Helmut

Related articles

Motorbiking In Scotland - At Home With The Argylls Image
Trail Riding

12 May 2015

Motorbiking In Scotland - At Home With The Argylls

In bright April sunshine, we were lucky enough to spend two days with Moto Scotland. On the first day, there were five of us. Everyone was an experienced road biker (except me) who had come to learn some off-road skills to enhance their road riding.

Guest Blog: 9 Events Worth Riding 2017 Image
Guest Blog

22 Jun 2017

Guest Blog: 9 Events Worth Riding 2017

The sun is out, the roads are finally dry and all you want to do is get on your motorbike and put some miles on the odometer. Here are 2017's biking events!

Sell My Bike In Belfast Image
Area Guides

25 Jan 2018

Sell My Bike In Belfast

There are some brilliant biker-friendly places in Belfast. The UK's leading bike trader, WeBuyAnyBike has created this Bikers Guide for you! Character Right
Get an instant online quote and cash for your bike
Recent comments
Archives - Character Right

Don't know your reg?Click here