Vauxhall International North West 200: Preview – Part 2 – Supersport Races

Vauxhall International North West 200: Preview – Part 2 – Supersport Races

Your always guaranteed close fought, dramatic, fierce competition, within the Supersport class at the North West 200. Expect no different next week, as a who’s who of international road racing, battle it out for 600 honours.

Event record holder Alastair Seeley, who’s secured since 2010 at every NW200 at least one Supersport victory, is anticipated by many to enjoy this May more middleweight class triumphs.

Joining forces next week with EHA Racing to pilot a high spec YZF R6 Yamaha, the Carrickfergus racer is confident he has the tools, to allow him to increase his already incredible record of 21 event wins.

Photo by Stephen Davison

Amongst a host of international roads giants, confident of battling Seeley for race wins include his Tyco BMW team mate for the Superbike races, Michael Dunlop.

Linking up again with World Supersport Championship mainstays PTR, who have prepared his own teams CBR 600RR Honda, the Mountain Course lap record holder showcased last month at Cookstown via invitational race success that his 600 steed for 2018, is an already extremely potent machine.

Temple Golf Club Yamaha’s William Dunlop, regularly regarded amongst pure road racing’s leading exponents of 600 machinery, like his younger brother is a rider you simply can never discount, from scooping race wins.

Photo by Rod Neill

Same applies to Lee Johnston, who for the Supersport races in contrast to his Honda Racing mounts in the 1000cc races, will jockey one of Padgetts Racing’s proven 600 Honda’s.

Like ‘General Lee’ Lee Hardy Racing’s Gary Johnson, is another who is more than capable of standing on the top step of the Supersport rostrum, which is also the case with fellow 675 Daytona Triumph mounted competitor, Peter Hickman.

Piloting the striking TROOPER liveried Smiths Triumph, ‘Hicky’ whilst perhaps more considered a front running contender in the Superbike/Superstock races, proved at last years Ulster Grand Prix with back to back victories, that he’s not to be underestimated within the middleweight class.

Photo by Rod Neill

Additional potential front runners include Supersport race 1 winner from last year, Riders Motorcycles Martin Jessopp, Silicone Engineering Racing’s Dean Harrison, Manx stars Dan Kneen, Conor Cummins and the ever consistent James Hillier of the Quattro Plant/JG Speedfit Kawasaki fold.

You can’t discount out of the equation as well the on form McAdoo Kawasaki duo of Adam McLean and James Cowton, from contending at minimum for rostrum finishes.

Photo by Tommy Vennard

Added ones to watch include Irish road race Supersport champion Derek McGee, Martin Jones Racing’s Michael Sweeney, Christian Elkin, Team ILR’s Joe Thompson, Craig Neve, Dan Cooper and Paul Jordan.

Further depth to the entry is provided by overseas stars such as Optimark Road Racing’s Xavier Denis/Frederic Besnard, Spain’s Raul Torras Martinez and multi IRRC Supersport champion Laurent Hoffmann.

Just a selection of the many Triangle debutants entered include Cookstown BE Racing’s Davey Todd, Performance Racing Achterhoek’s Ilja Caljouw, Ryan Dixon, Manx GP rostrum finisher Jamie Williams, IRRC front runner Pierre Yves Bian and Oliver’s Mount specialist Stephen Degnan.

Photo by Tommy Vennard

The components needed to win a Supersport encounter around the Triangle, are the same each year. You need the relentless pace, spot on race tactics, determination personified and perhaps most of all an uncompromising will to win.

You can apply all the attributes above to many within this years, truly world class entry, which is certain to guarantee this May more exhilarating NW200 action.

Words by Stevie Rial

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