Road Racing News

2019 North West 200: Irwin, Hillier Reflect On Ultra Positive Thursday For Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki

The Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki team enjoyed an ultra positive Thursday, at the 90th anniversary North West 200, acquiring multiple rostrum finishes, consistently challenging for race wins and becoming unofficial event lap record holders!

Triple meeting victor Glenn Irwin, who sounded pretty down beat after first Superbike qualifying on Tuesday, got his mojo back and some on Thursday, impressing in Superstock Q2, prior to final qualifying for Saturday’s seven lap Superbike encounters.

Mixing raw pace, with fierce determination, allied to a much more potent Kawasaki steed, Irwin powered to overall Superbike pole position, courtesy of an unofficial outright lap record of 4 minutes 21.767 seconds, equating mph wise to an average lap speed of 123.362 mph.

After Irwin’s qualifying heroics, alongside accomplished showing’s from team mate James Hillier, vibes ahead of Thursday evening’s races was nothing but positive for the Bournemouth Kawasaki run, Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings team.

Third in a thrilling Tides Restaurant Supersport race, the corresponding Bayview Hotel Superstock race would see 2013 Lightweight TT champ Hillier show more solid, consistent pace, on route to finishing fourth close behind Michael Dunlop.

Reflecting on a very productive day at the NW200, the affable, highly respected Hillier stated:

“I’m happy with how the week’s gone so far and I’ve been there or thereabouts on all of the bikes, although I would have liked to finish a bit higher than tenth in qualifying for the two Superbike races, where I just ran out of time during second qualifying to try a few changes.

The other bikes were flying and I had the best seat in the house during the 600cc race, where I could see the riders ahead of me were tying themselves up a bit.

I was ready to pick up the pieces, and although I didn’t have the cleanest final lap, I was delighted to take another podium and I could have had another one in the Superstock race.

Unfortunately, I just got squeezed out a bit going into University and I had to run wide, but I fought back well to finish fourth and we’re well placed to have another strong day on Saturday.”

Photo by Tommy Vennard

Runner up within the Bayview Hotel race, won in commanding fashion by Smiths Racing’s Peter Hickman, new NW200 qualifying record holder Irwin, was delighted to scoop a first International roads Superstock podium finish.

Looking back on the six lap Superstock race, the four times International Road Race winner stated:

“We worked really hard during qualifying, and riding the Superstock bike and getting more track time certainly helped with the Superbike.

The Stock class is new to me but the ZX-10RR (Kawasaki), is an awesome bike and we were able to transfer some of the settings onto the Superbike, which really paid dividends in qualifying where I felt comfortable on the bike. To get pole position for Saturday’s two races and lap inside the outright lap record was brilliant.

In the Superstock race itself, Peter did what I did last year and broke clear, but I fought until the end and I have to be pleased with second place and a podium place alongside Peter Hickman and Michael Dunlop.

We’re in a good position ahead of Saturday, so let’s hope the weather stays good and we can put on a good show for the fans.”

Words by Stevie Rial

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