Bathams SMT Racing’s Michael Rutter (4.24.634) set the pace in the opening Superstock practice session, at this years North West 200, as he edged out Alastair Seeley (4.24.775) by just 0.141 of a second, to secure provisional pole position.
Michael and Alastair, where the only two riders to lap under 4 minutes 25 seconds, with nearest pursuer to the multi North West winning duo been Lee Johnston (4.25.173) aboard the East Coast Racing S1000RR BMW.
Photo by Rod Neill
Superstock lap record holder, Ian Hutchinson made it a BMW Motorrad 1-2-3-4 in practice, whilst the Kawasaki challenge was lead by Silicone Engineering Racing’s Dean Harrison.
Super Twins pace setter Martin Jessopp was sixth quickest in front of Michael Dunlop, who spent the session testing both his own teams Suzuki and then Bennetts Suzuki’s stock machine.
Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) finished eighth fastest, Temple Golf Club backed William Dunlop gave Yamaha a presence in the top ten, which was completed by the ever cheerful, Horst Saiger (IXS Kawasaki).
14th quickest, Jamie Coward impressed on the Radcliffe’s Racing BMW, as did recent BeNeCup Superbike winner at Hengelo, Performance Racing Achterhoek’s Jochem Van Den Hoek.
I end this article with a different topic, which may sound controversial, but needs to be said.
I don’t want to be critical of the organisers, but the original start of the practice session was red flagged, cause the course car had been left to close to the edge of the circuit on the chicane, near the finish line.
Things like this should not be happening at Northern Ireland’s biggest sporting event, which unfortunately will give fuel to those who criticise the organisational team at the helm of the meeting.
Vauxhall International North West 200 – Superstock Practice Times:
1 Michael Rutter 4.24.634
2 Alastair Seeley 4.24.775
3 Lee Johnston 4.25.173
4 Ian Hutchinson 4.26.265
5 Dean Harrison 4.28.977
6 Martin Jessopp 4.30.355
7 Michael Dunlop 4.30.552
8 Peter Hickman 4.31.127
9 William Dunlop 4.31.137
10 Horst Saiger 4.32.857
11 Dan Kneen 4.34.450
12 James Hillier 4.34.846
13 Derek Sheils 4.35.057
14 Jamie Coward 4.35.890
15 Guy Martin 4.37.192
16 Steve Mercer 4.38.038
17 Michael Sweeney 4.38.622
18 Ivan Lintin 4.38.800
19 Dan Cooper 4.40.387
20 Jochem Van Den Hoek 4.40.624
Words by Stevie Rial