Road Racing News

North West 200: Dunlop’s Top Opening Supersport Qualifying Session

Carrying on his accomplished early season form from Cookstown on his own teams PTR prepared CBR 600RR Honda, it was Michael Dunlop with a lap time of 4 minutes 46.387 seconds, who set the pace within the opening Supersport qualifying session of this years Vauxhall International North West 200.

Temple Golf Club Yamaha’s William Dunlop (4.46.474) made it a Dunlop 1-2 in Q1, as just under 0.1 of a second covered the immensely popular Ballymoney brothers.

Photo by Rod Neill

Third quickest, Quattro Plant/JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s James Hillier (4.47.128) also showed good solid pace, as did Lee Johnston (4.47.406) who headed the Padgetts Racing challenge.

Supersport race 1 winner from 2017 Martin Jessopp (4.48.094) aboard his bright orange liveried Triumph was next up on the time sheets, closely followed by McAdoo Kawasaki’s Adam McLean (4.48.363) and Dan Kneen aboard the Jackson Racing Honda (4.48.629).

Finalising the top ten in a qualifying session, which provided a mix of overcast, a touch windy and ultimately a sprinkling or two of rain, were Lee Hardy Racing’s Gary Johnson (4.49.283), NW200 event record holder Alastair Seeley (4.49.624) and Martin Jones Racing’s Michael Sweeney (4.50.144).

Others to impress outside the first ten on the time sheets included 16th quickest Darryl Tweed, who slipped off uninjured in a low speed incident mid way through the session.

Leading newcomer Cookstown BE Racing’s Davey Todd finished a very creditable 20th fastest, whilst Ian Hutchinson’s first competitive action with his new Padgetts 600 Honda mount, saw him finish down in 34th on the time sheets.

Supersport Q1 results, are as follows:

1 Michael Dunlop 4.46.387
2 William Dunlop 4.46.474
3 James Hillier 4.47.128
4 Lee Johnston 4.47.406
5 Martin Jessopp 4.48.094
6 Adam McLean 4.48.363
7 Dan Kneen 4.48.629
8 Gary Johnson 4.49.283
9 Alastair Seeley 4.49.624
10 Michael Sweeney 4.50.144
11 James Cowton 4.50.834
12 Peter Hickman 4.53.412
13 Dean Harrison 4.55.668
14 Sam West 4.56.547
15 Dan Cooper 4.57.380
16 Darryl Tweed 4.57.681
17 Paul Jordan 4.58.248
18 Conor Cummins 4.59.819
19 Craig Neve 5.00.830
20 Davey Todd 5.01.178

Words by Stevie Rial