2016 North West 200 Round-Up

2016 at the North West 200 saw records broken, the tragic loss of an impressive young rider, and a popular Dunlop victory.

FullSizeRender
Alistair Seeley leads the first Supersport race

Alistair Seeley surpassed Robert Dunlop’s all time win record at the event by winning both Supersport races. This now puts him on 17 wins – two more than Robert’s 15 – with Michael Rutter, the closest current rider, on 13 wins behind him.

Conditions at the event were near perfect with sunshine splitting the skies on every day of action – and everyday in between!  As always practice sessions took place on Tuesday and Thursday during the day with racing starting on Thursday evening.

First up on the order was the first Supersport race, won by Seeley but he did not have it all his own way. Due to the nature of the track it lends itself to a lot of slipstreaming. This meant that a number of riders from the lead group had a turn in the lead. In the end he beat Ian Hutchinson and Martin Jessopp across the line.

  1. Alistair Seeley
  2. Ian Hutchinson +1.290
  3. Martin Jessopp +2.200
  4. William Dunlop +5.995
  5. Dean Harrison +6.581
IMG_6276
Ian Hutchinson during Supersport practice

Next on the agenda was the first Supertwin race which was blighted by red flags. The first of these was due to a house fire on the circuit which was dealt with swiftly. When racing resumed the red flags came out again after leaders had completed the third lap. Pole man Dan Cooper and Ryan Farquhar got caught up in an accident at Dhu Varren after Farquhar lost the front end. Cooper was reported to have dislocated both shoulders but was back in the paddock on Friday morning. Farquhar suffered more serious injuries and was airlifed to Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital. He has since been released from intensive care and has given interviews praising the North West 200’s medical team. Ivan Lintin was awarded the race win ahead of James Hillier and Jeremy McWilliams.

  1. Ivan Lintin
  2. James Hillier +1.184
  3. Jeremy McWilliams +10.681
  4. Martin Jessopp +15.265
  5. Malachi Mitchell-Thomas +1 lap
FullSizeRender (6)
Peter Hickman’s Trooper Beer Supersport bike

The Superstock race was postponed until Saturday. The second Supersport race was the first to be ran on the Saturday, with proceedings getting going swiftly after the roads had closed. It was to be another Seeley win this time with Jessopp second and Peter Hickman securing his first ever North West 200 podium in third. Just behind the podium trio was an impressive Malachi Mitchell-Thomas who started 16th and climbed up to fourth, just a second off a podium spot on his debut. Dean Harrison rounded out the top five with an aggrieved penalised Lee Johnston in sixth.

  1. Alistair Seeley
  2. Martin Jessopp +6.589
  3. Peter Hickman +24.642
  4. Malachi Mitchell-Thomas +15.958
  5. Dean Harrison +16.177

Thursday’s postponed Superstock race was next up and it was Hutchinson’s turn to stand on the top step of the podium. The race was run over five laps instead of the intended six and Hutchinson took the chequered flag first, albeit it by a narrow margin. It was another close run affair and in the end the top six riders were separated by just 3 seconds. Hickman finished second with Seeley in third.

  1. Ian Hutchinson
  2. Peter Hickman +0.615
  3. Alistair Seeley +0.767
  4. Michael Rutter +1.208
  5. Michael Dunlop +1.633

It was local favourite Michael Dunlop who romped to victory in the Superbike class. He ended up five seconds clear of Hutchinson but the race was red flagged after the fourth lap meaning it could have been a bigger gap. Bruce Anstey was clocked through the speed trap at a record speed of 209mph but unfortunately it was the Kiwi who caused the red flag. He came off his bike at Church but was thankfully OK. His accident brought an end to his unique record as well of a podium at every North West 200 since his debut in 2002. Michael Rutter finished third.

  1. Michael Dunlop
  2. Ian Hutchinson +5.206
  3. Michael Rutter +5.524
  4. Peter Hickman +5.686
  5. Lee Johnston +6.464
IMG_6278
Malachi Mitchell-Thomas during practice

The second Supertwins race proved to be the final race of the day after a fatal accident. It was a depleted grid following Farquhar and Cooper’s accident. Some riders also had to drop a race due to the rule of only being allowed to race five in a day. It was a close fought affair at the front with Lintin leading but the battle hot for second. Jessopp initially held the position but an impressive move by Mitchell-Thomas at the end of the second lap saw the newcomer up into second. The red flags came out after the leaders had completed the third lap. Sadly, it was Mitchell-Thomas off at Dhu Varren and the news soon came through that he had passed away. The race was declared with Lintin the winner.

  1. Ivan Lintin
  2. Martin Jessopp +5.035
  3. Jeremy McWilliams + 1 lap
  4. James Cowton + 1 lap
  5. Michael Sweeney + 1 lap

Understandably Event Director Mervyn White took the decision to cancel the final two races of the day.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s