Road Racing News

North West 200 Preview – Part 1 – Superbike Races

The 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 sees a dazzling entry list for superbike races around the triangle.

Honda racing’s John McGuinness and Conor Cummins are both confident of pushing for race wins as they open their 2015 road racing season campaign’s at the opening international road race of the season.

Ever since making his North West 200 debut back in 1996 John McGuinness has always enjoyed returning to the iconic road race.

The 21 times TT winner is still as hungry as ever for success and will once again be amongst the pre race favourites in superbike races.

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Conor Cummins has not yet to date been victorious around the triangle but this could very well change this year.

His third and second place finishes in superbike and senior races at TT 2015 where proof that he’s back to his best in the big bike class.

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Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s entry into superbike races is lead by 2013 lightweight TT winner James Hillier.

James is all set to compete on the teams factory backed ZX10R Kawasaki superbike as he aims for his first success around at the North West.

All eyes will be on Michael Dunlop as he competes on Milwaukee backed R1M Yamaha superbike. Most recently the four times North West 200 winner finished second in open race at Cookstown 100 but also dramatically crashed out of race lead in grand final.

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Photo by Rod Neill

One aspect was clear though from Cookstown he’s on the pace on the new R1M Yamaha and that is an ominous sign for his fellow competitors. Can he pilot the new R1M Yamaha to victory around the triangle, we will all soon know.

Rico Penzkofer’s Penz 13.com Bathams by BMW Motorrad team has a dynamic line up for superbike races.

The line up includes 12 times North West 200 winner Michael Rutter. Last year’s North West 200 proved that the hugely popular rider is still as competitive as ever at the iconic road race following series of top quality results which included second place finishes in superstock races.

Tenth place finisher in 2014 Macau Grand Prix Stephen Thompson joins Michael in the Penz 13.com team along with Canadian Dan Kruger who enters his second year of competition at the North West.

Bruce Anstey ten times North West 200 winner goes into this year’s meeting hugely confident that Valvoline racing by Padgetts motorcycles CBR 1000 Honda Fireblade can pilot him to more superbike success around the triangle.

The Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix lap record holder proved last season why he is considered by many one of the most naturally talented pure road racers of the last twenty years.

Joining Bruce in the Valvoline racing by Padgetts motorcycles team is reigning Irish road race superbike champion Dan Kneen.

For Dan this season marks a golden opportunity as he competes for the multiple international road race winning outfit.

Arguably the team with the strongest overall line up at the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 is Tyco BMW.

Alastair Seeley has been the dominant force at the North West in the 2010’s. The 12 times winner is brimming with confidence going into the opening international road race of the season.

Competition will be as tough as ever but there’s no doubt that Alastair will start one of the pre race favourites in superbike and feature superbike races as will his team mate William Dunlop.

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Photo by Rod Neill

William has enjoyed a superb start to the 2015 road racing season following supersport race wins at Cookstown 100 and Tandragee 100 plus senior open victory at Tandragee 100.

Having tasted superbike success at North West 200 last year William is tipped by many to be in contention for superbike successes as is eight times Steve Henshaw international gold cup winner Guy Martin.

Guy is arguably the form rider in superbike class going into the North West 200 following feature race successes at Spring Cup National Road Races and Cookstown 100.

If he’s successful in superbike races there’s no doubt that it would be one of the most popular race wins amongst multiple pure road racing fans.

Like Guy, Gary Johnson has not yet been a North West 200 winner but there’s a good chance this could change as the two time TT winner competes for the factory backed GB Moto Racing Kawasaki team.

Having landed one of the plum rides for this year’s North West 200 Gary is optimistic he can push for superbike success, he has the talent, ambition and drive to be victorious as does eight times TT winner Ian Hutchinson.

Ian’s recovery from a serious leg injury has been a truly inspirational story.

Having switched to Kawasaki machinery with the Paul Bird Motorsport team Hutchy goes into opening international road race of the season with a fresh new outlook.

He can’t be discounted from challenging at the front in superbike races as he competes on the proven Paul Bird Motorsport ZX10R Kawasaki superbike.

Dean Harrison has in recent years gone up a level. Now a international road race winner the rider from Bradford is also now a factory Yamaha rider with the Mar Train Racing team.

He’s already proven this season why he is considered one of the great natural talents in pure road racing.

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Photo by Rod Neill

Senior race success at Spring Cup National Road Races which gave the new R1M Yamaha its first real road racing success, second and third place finishes in supersport races at Cookstown 100 have been amongst the main highlights.

Rig Deluge BMW’s Keith Amor embarks on his return to the big bike class at the North West 200 having competed last year in supersport and super twin races.

2010 superstock race winner Keith is confident that the Rig Deluge backed S1000RR BMW can pilot him to podium finishes in superbike and feature superbike races.

Lee Johnston goes into the superbike races more than capable of taking a race win or two on East Coast Racing’s S1000RR BMW.

General Lee showed excellent form at Spring Cup National Road Races in superbike class which included third place finish in opening senior race.

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Ryan Farquhar has been in flying form during the early part of the 2015 road racing season.

Seven times Duke road race rankings champion Ryan is all set to compete on his own teams ZX10R Kawasaki superbike and is looking forward to competing against his factory backed competitors.

Bimota Racing’s entry is lead by seventh place finisher in supersport race two at TT 2011 Ben Wylie and rising road racing star from America Brandon Cretu.

Burrows Engineering Racing and Jamie Hamilton have enjoyed a highly successful start to the 2015 road racing season.

2013 Irish road race super twins champion Jamie most recently secured at Tandragee 100 selection of top class results which included second place finish in senior open.

The hammer is more than capable of causing a surprise or two as is RC Express Racing Kawasaki’s Ivan Lintin.

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Reigning TT privateers champion Ivan was in dazzling form at Spring Cup National Road Races as he secured hat trick of race victories including senior race two success.

Leader currently of the 2015 Duke road race rankings championship Ivan looks set to be amongst the leading ZX10R Kawasaki mounted riders.

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Rising road racing stars Russ Mountford, Didier Grams, Jamie Coward, Colin Stephenson, two time junior Manx Grand Prix winner Michael Sweeney are all hugely talented riders capable of securing standout results as is James Cowton.

2014 Duke road race rankings champion James is S1000RR BMW mounted for superbike races as he competes for Rob Barber’s PRB Racing team.

Regarded by many as a multiple international road race winner in the making he’s one to watch in superbike races at the North West.

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Double race winner at Spring Cup National Road Races Daley Mathison looks set to be amongst leading Suzuki mounted riders as he competes on Hol Taj backed GSX-R 1000 Suzuki.

A dark horse in superbike races could very well be Martin Jessopp who is all set to compete on Riders Motorcycles backed S1000RR BMW.

Second place finisher in grand final race at 2015 Cookstown 100 Derek Sheils is in great form going into the North West 200.

Don’t be surprised to see Derek pushing for standout results on BikebitsNI racing ZX10 Kawasaki.

Seasoned competitors Paul Shoesmith, Davy Morgan, Jonathan Howarth, Matthew Rees and Brian Mccormack add further quality to a top class line up.

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Photo by Rod Neill

Leading newcomers include reigning Irish road race superbike champion Derek Mcgee who is all set to compete on Wilson Craig Racing’s CBR 1000 Honda Fireblade superbike.

Fourth place finisher in 2014 superstock TT David Johnson is another top class rider set to make his debut as he competes on Ice Valley Racing S1000RR BMW.

Top ten finisher in 2014 newcomers A Manx Grand Prix Craig Neve, Sam West and Matti Seidel are all hugely looking forward to making their debuts around the triangle.

In all a fantastic entry list for superbike races at the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200.

It’s incredibly hard to predict who will secure race victories but one things for sure exciting, dramatic, pulsating and compelling racing is guaranteed.

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