Road Racing News

Vauxhall International North West 200: Preview – Part 3 – Superstock Races

BMW’s iconic S1000RR mount has proven in recent times the bike to beat in the Superstock class at the North West 200, will this continue to be the case next week?

It’s an immensely strong possibility, given the sheer amount of world class talent set to jockey the German Manufacturers vastly successful machine.

Photo by Rod Neill

Most successful rider in meeting history, Alastair Seeley like in the Supersport and Superbike classes has a formidable NW200 record in relation to the Superstock class.

Linking up again with long time event suitors TAS Racing/Tyco BMW, he’s nigh on certain to be in front line contention for more success on the fabled Triangle course.

Tyco team mate for the Superbike races Michael Dunlop, set to compete under his own teams MD Racing banner, has proven time and time again over the years his pedigree on production 1000 machinery.

Winner of the second stock race of the 2014 NW200, he’s a racer who’s throughout this decade proved various times that the impossible is possible. Always a prime contender for victories, same notion applies to Smiths Racing’s Peter Hickman.

Ultra consistent, reliable and undoubtedly amongst the most race fit riders on the grid, it’s not surprising to hear many roads aficionados tout him as a potential race winner, next week.

Photo by Rod Neill

Added notable riders BMW mounted, who are all capable of chalking up a win or two include Bathams SMT Racing’s Michael Rutter, Tandragee 100 Senior open winner Dan Kneen (Tyco BMW) and Riders Motorcycles Martin Jessopp.

Further depth to BMW’s Superstock NW200 presence, is added by David Johnson (Gulf BMW), Sam West (PRL Worthington Racing), Craig Neve (Jackson Racing), Michael Sweeney (Martin Jones Racing), Italy’s Stefano Bonetti, Dan Cooper, Dominic Herbertson (WH Racing) and Market Rasen’s Phil Crowe.

Looking towards Kawasaki’s challenge, it wouldn’t at be a surprise if Bradford’s Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing), claimed next Thursday or Saturday, a first NW200 victory.

You can apply the same factor to fellow ZX-10RR Kawasaki mounted competitors, RAF Regular & Reserves backed Gary Johnson and Ringwood’s James Hillier (Quattro Plant/JG Speedfit Kawasaki).

Photo by Tommy Vennard

It’s going to be fascinating to see how competitive Ian Hutchinson will be next week, due to many factors including his race fitness, plus has Honda’s SP2 Fireblade become more of a proven package.

One things for sure though, you never doubt the Bingley racer’s commitment and determination in pursuit of adding to his already stellar international roads CV.

Recently speaking about his confirmed addition to the NW200 entry, Event Director Mervyn Whyte MBE stated:

“Neil Tuxworth has kept me informed over the past week and the team are satisfied Ian is fit and able to make his Honda Racing debut alongside team mate, Lee Johnston.

A three times North West winner, Ian is an experienced campaigner on the Triangle circuit and we are delighted he is making his return to road racing competition at the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.”

Alongside Hutchinson, first time factory Honda rider Lee Johnston over recent months has expressed confidence in the potential of the SP2 Fireblade, which it’s fair to say in spite of it been a new developing machine, was a huge disappointment last year.

Further notable racers set to tackle the six lap Superstock races include Conor Cummins (Padgetts Racing), William Dunlop (Temple Golf Club Yamaha), Derek McGee, McAdoo Kawasaki’s Adam McLean/James Cowton, IRRC stars Johan Fredriks, Joey Den Besten (Performance Racing Achterhoek), Laurent Hoffmann plus newcomers Davey Todd (Cookstown BE Racing) and Nadieh Schoots.

Photo by Tommy Vennard

As in the Superbike, Supersport and Super Twins classes, the Superstock NW200 entry of 2018 has a great vibrant mix of works, semi works, international winning, ambitious next gen road racers.

Pulsating action, dramatic over takes, bold moves, intoxicating competition, are just some of the phrases that spectators and the wider roads fraternity more than likely will be echoing next week, with an abundance of Superstock wizards aiming to accomplish just one goal, race wins at the Vauxhall International North West 200.

Words by Stevie Rial

>