Road Racing News

Vauxhall International North West 200 Preview – Part 3 – Supersport Races

Supersport races, have been a constant favourite with North West 200 fans, next week is set to see more world class pure road racing competition in one of the most competitive classes on the roads.

Yamaha:

William Dunlop goes into the North West 200, regarded by many, as the leading supersport exponent between the hedges.

Having begun his 2016 roads campaign with 600 victories at Tandragee and Cookstown, William goes into action around the Triangle, confident he has the package to propel him to more international road race success.

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Photo by Rod Neill

In my opinion he will start one of the firm pre race favourites, the Ivan Curran/CD Racing YZF R6 Yamaha, will be one of the highest spec 600’s on the grid.

Ian Hutchinson and Keith Flint’s Team Traction Control outfit, have already enjoyed momentous moments in pure road racing, illustrated by Hutchy’s memorable Monster Energy supersport victories at TT 2016.

The combination of the team now running under the guise of BPT Came Yamaha and the legend that is Ian Hutchinson, will prove extremely hard to beat.

It was back in 2010, when Ian last tasted success at the Giant Causeway based meeting, when he dominated the second supersport encounter, when competing for Padgetts Racing.

We all know he could dominate both supersport races, as could fellow roads legend Michael Dunlop.

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Photo by Jim Gibson

Although still not officially announced as to his 600 mount, it’s looking likely that he will be YZF R6 Yamaha mounted for his MD Racing outfit.

A four time NW200 winner, Michael is another pre race favourite, whilst Mar Train Racing’s Dan Kneen is a definite podium contender.

Additional YZF R6 Yamaha runners to watch out for, include two time junior Manx Grand Prix winner Michael Sweeney and newcomers Dan Hegarty, JD Mosley and Spanish duo Raul Torres and Victor Lopez

Kawasaki:

Pure road racing supporters could be about to witness a moment of motorsport history at the Triangle, next week, as Alastair Seeley bids to become the most successful rider in North West 200 history.

Piloting one of the Gearlink Kawasaki’s, his record on the 600’s on the coastal roads, is a quite stellar one, which includes seven victories.

Everyone on the grid knows that the “Wee Wizard” will be a constant factor near the sharp end of the field.

Gearlink Kawasaki team mates Michael Rutter and Ben Wilson, both have the pedigree, to fight for top three finishes.

Same notion applies to Quattro Plant Muc Off Kawasaki’s James Hillier, Peter Hickman on his own teams Trooper backed ZX6R Kawasaki and Devitt RC Express Racing’s Ivan Lintin.

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Photo by Peter Leverton

Silicone Engineering Racing’s Dean Harrison, has the talent to break onto the podium.

Added talented riders piloting ZX6R Kawasaki’s include Horst Saiger, 2012 junior Manx Grand Prix winner Wayne Kirwan, Sam West , Spain’s Antonio Maeso and newcomers Kris Duncan and reigning IRRC supersport champion Marek Cerveny.

Honda:

Since making his North West 200 debut in 2002, Bruce Anstey has been a frequent front runner across all classes, around the Triangle.

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An absolute maestro on supersport 600 machinery, no one at all would be surprised sealed series of race wins, on the Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles CBR 600 Honda.

Jackson Racing’s John McGuinness and Conor Cummins, are both confident of securing, string of world class results.

In my opinion though John and Conor’s main races will be the superbike encounters, they cannot be discounted though from battling for at least top five finishes.

Cameron Donald and the Wilson Craig Racing CBR 600 Honda, could well surprise everyone, by winning at least one of the supersport races.

Further clout to Honda’s 600 presence is added by James Cowton, rising star Paul Jordan, Craig Neve, Jonathan Howarth and exciting newcomer Malachi Mitchell Thomas current leader of the Duke Road Race Rankings championship.

Triumph:

Lee Johnston, East Coast Racing 675 Daytona Triumph, will in my opinion be amongst the pre race favourites.

Last year at the NW200 saw Lee embroiled in a great second supersport tussle with Alastair Seeley and Glenn Irwin.

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He went onto finish in third place, but showcased yet again in this particular race, his prowess around one of pure road racing’s most historic and recognised circuit’s.

Following a high speed incident at the Spring Cup National Road Races at Oliver’s Mount, Lee is battling to be fit, for the opening international meet of the year.

Providing he’s on the line, we could see a Triumph finish on the top step of the podium.

Martin Jessopp Riders Motorcycles, Dan Cooper and his own teams Triumph, Tom Weeden, Christian Elkin and newcomer Darryl Tweed all have the determination, to wrap up significant results.

Round Up:

With anyone of at least ten or more riders capable of winning the supersport races, sparkling, thrilling and most of all close fought action is guaranteed at the Vauxhall International North West 200.

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Photo by Rod Neill

In total 52 riders are set to be on the grid, there’s a great mix of international road race winners, international stars, rising stars and anticipated lightning quick newcomers.

Roll on supersport competition!

Words by Stevie Rial

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