Road Racing News

FonaCAB International North West 200 In Association With Nicholl Oils: Preview – Part 4 – Superbike Races

Once again, event organisers have secured a truly world class field, for the Superbike races of the upcoming FonaCAB International North West 200 In Association With Nicholl Oils, which includes Triangle titan Glenn Irwin.

Despite enduring a challenging start to the 2019 BSB season, the Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki racer still starts for many favourite, for this week’s big bike encounters.

Carrying the number 1 plate, Irwin stated via Twitter his delight at holding the #1 plate, for his upcoming fourth NW200 expedition:

“Dreamt of winning races as a kid at the North West 200, always read the programme to see who number ‘1’ was. Privilege to be asked to race with it at this years event, an extra motivation not that we need any!”

Will he make it a hat trick of premier class successes, in just over five days time? It’s an undoubted possibility, the competition though is stern.

Photo by Stephen Davison

In particular most successful rider in North West 200 history, Alastair Seeley, will be keen to reassert his authority within the Superbike class, as he aims to increase his already momentous tally of 24 wins on the fabled Triangle course.

Speaking at a recent test session at Kirkistown, the Triangle course wizard echoed quiet but assured confidence about the potential of his high profile, proven, potent new mount, the Be Wiser Ducati.

“It is a bit of a test but at least I am getting time out on the bike. It’s a case of doing nothing silly, gathering up the laps laps and learning the bike.

It feels good and it will feel even better going up the big, long straights at the North West.”

Seeley went onto add about the V4 Ducati, which has proven formidable in the World Superbikes scene with Alvaro Bautista:

“We started off where Josh (Brookes) finished at Oulton Park in the last BSB round, but the bike felt quite hard on the springs.

Each time we come in we are changing the bike more to my preference, and we are slowly getting there. By the end of the day we will have changed quite a bit and hopefully found a happy place for me.”

Outside of Seeley and Irwin, lots of attention will also be on Tyco BMW’s Michael Dunlop.

Perhaps going in, a touch under the radar, you can never discount the Ballymoney racer, given his ultra determined persona, core talent, top notch race tactics and the fact that he’s still the lap record holder around the Triangle.

Photo by Rod Neill

With this in mind, it wouldn’t at all be a surprise if he concludes his TT 2019 prep, with series of at minimum podium finishes.

Mountain Course lap record holder Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing), Davey Todd (Penz 13 BMW), Phil Crowe, Brian McCormack (On 1 Racing), Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing), Craig Neve and Michael Sweeney (Martin Jones Racing), all add further depth to BMW Motorrad’s NW200 presence.

Photo by Tommy Vennard

Honda enjoys strong representation from the factory duo of Ian Hutchinson and David Johnson, plus Milenco by Padgetts Conor Cummins.

All three have the ability to contend for rostrums, victories, but as previously mentioned the competition is tough and it’s going to take in my opinion all of their combined herculean like determination, iron grit, aptitude, talent to be in the mix for first rate results.

Photo by ID

Same applies to Bathams Racing’s Michael Rutter, who is set to pilot the exotic, hugely popular RC213V-S Honda.

Given the great sounding steed’s sweet handling, allied to it been in affect a road going Moto GP mount, plus it’s jockey’s undoubted pace, talent, there’s no doubt that the evergreen Rutter will be a strong contender again for podium placing’s.

Additional potential front runners include Silicone Engineering Racing’s Dean Harrison, Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki’s James Hillier, Lee Hardy Racing’s Gary Johnson, plus keep an eye on notable Triangle course debutant Richard Cooper.

We must not forget as well that the world class entry, also includes reigning Duke Road Race Rankings champion Derek McGee, Horst Saiger, PreZ Racing’s Jamie Coward, Dominic Herbertson, Dafabet Devitt Racing’s Paul Jordan, BE Racing In Conjunction With Richardson Kelly Racing’s Derek Sheils and Tom Weeden, plus John McGuinness and the chrome silver liveried works Norton.

Overall a quite brilliant entry, for the North West 200 Superbike races of 2019.

After the top quality competition, exhilarating, pulsating action from recent NW200’s, it’s fair to say expectations from thousands of race fans, are for more races of the absolute same quality, from a selection of the world’s finest pure road racers.

Photo by Stephen Davison

When you mix works riders, high level independent/privateer competitors, and hungry next generation closed roads exponents, you know your guaranteed first class action.

Expect this in some, on Saturday, with 50 plus riders set to battle it out, for big bike success, at the ever popular FonaCAB International North West 200 In Association With Nicholl Oils.

Words by Stevie Rial