Stage set for 2015 North West 200

The first international road race of the year will take place this week on the North Coast of Northern Ireland.

The Vauxhall International North West 200 race week runs from Sunday 10th May to Saturday 16th May. Practice sessions are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday mornings while the first races will take place on Thursday evening. Race day itself is Saturday with five races on the programme. Three are due to take place on Thursday evening.

North West 200 History

First held in 1929, the race was originally run over 200 miles – hence the North West 200 title. Since then it has been reduced to a 8.970 mile track, contained in the triangle area of Portstewart, Coleraine, and Portrush. The fastest ever speed recorded at the North West 200 is 208mph which was achieved by Martin Jessopp in 2012. Due to the nature of the track – characterised by three long straights – speeds often reach 200mph and riders are given plenty of opportunities for overtaking, especially in the slipstream of another rider.

Robert Dunlop holds the record for most wins at the North West 200 with 15. His brother Joey Dunlop had 13 victories while current racer Michael Rutter lies on 13 wins as well. Alistair Seeley has 12 North West wins while Philip McCallen and Bruce Anstey have 11 and 10 respectively. Rutter, Seeley and Anstey will be in action this year, with the former two best placed to equal or better Dunlop’s record.

Last year there were five different winners. Seeley won the first Supersport race and went on to win the first Superstock race as well. Lee Johnston was victorious in both Supertwins races while Anstey won the second Supersport race. William Dunlop took his first ever International Superbike victory when he came out on top of a close battle with his brother. Michael Dunlop in turn went on to win the second Superstock race and the feature North West 200 race.

Fan favourite Guy Martin was on the podium in the first Supersport race but his first North West 200 victory still eluded him. With rumours rife that he is contemplating retirement from road racing, this could be his last opportunity to stand on the top step on the North Coast. Other podium finishers in 2014 included Rutter, Conor Cummins, Gary Johnson, and James Cowton.

2015 Practice & Race Schedule

Tuesday 12th May

Roads close at 9.15am and are due to open again at 2.45pm

Practice sessions due to take place

Thursday 14th May

Roads close at 9.15am and are due to open again at 2.45pm

Practice sessions due to take place

Roads close at 5.15pm and are due to open again at 9pm

Races due to take place

  • Race 1: Supersport (6 laps)
  • Race 2: Supertwin (4 laps)
  • Race 3: Superstock (6 laps)

Saturday 16th May

Roads close at 9.30am and are due to open again at 7pm

Races due to take place

  • Race 4: Supersport (6 laps)
  • Race 5: Superbike (7 laps)
  • Race 6: Supertwin (4 laps)
  • Race 7: Superstock (6 laps)
  • Race 8: North West 200 Superbike (7 laps)

Contingency Plans

If extreme weather conditions require organisers to make any changes to race schedules the following days are available:

Wednesday 13th and Friday 15th May

Alternatively, organisers may extend the hours the roads are closed to the following times:

  • Tuesday 12th May: 5.15pm – 9pm
  • Saturday 16th May: 7pm – 9pm

Full information can be found on the official North West 200 website.Keep an eye on The H Duct for further posts throughout the week.

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