Johnston finally secures Superstock win

Lee Johnston was the winner of the final race at the 2015 North West 200.

The BMW rider who had been leading the first Superstock race on each of the three times it had been red flagged, finally crossed the line to win on Saturday evening.

He narrowly beat Alistair Seeley and denied the Tyco rider the opportunity to set a new record for wins around the Triangle Circuit after he equalled Robert Dunlop’s existing record earlier in the day. He also beat Ian Hutchinson who finished second in the Superbike race and had enjoyed good starts in the earlier attempts at the first Superstock race. Michael Dunlop was also a close fourth, with the Ballymoney man finally securing a good result after a number of disappointing retirements following his second place finish in Thursday’s Supersport race.

William Dunlop rounded up his North West 200 with a distant fifth place while team-mate Guy Martin was a third lap retirement. Martin Jessopp finished in sixth place ahead of James Hillier, Keith Amor, Conor Cummins and newcomer David Johnson. Along with Martin, other retirements were Darren Cooper, Michael Rutter, Bruce Anstey, Mark Goodings, and Dan Kruger.

The final race of the day – the North West 200 Superbike feature race – was called off by race organisers due to high winds.

McWilliams gets better of Farquhar in Supertwins race

Jeremy McWilliams got the better of team boss Ryan Farquhar in the second Supertwins race at the 2015 North West 200.

On Thursday evening Farquhar beat McWilliams but the tables were turned on Saturday. The KMR Kawasaki duo were joined in an intense battle by Jamie Hamilton, who took third place on Thursday following a time penalty for Martin Jessopp. Hamilton also had a turn of leading Saturday’s Supertwin race but admitted afterwards he had got too hot into one of the chicanes and so lost time, dropping off the back of the leading pair.

McWilliams crossed the line just four tenths clear of Farquhar with Hamilton finishing 11 seconds later. Christian Elkin – who stayed with the top three in the opening couple of laps – dropped back to finish 30 seconds off the leader in fourth place with Jamie Coward fifth and Michael Russell sixth from the second group. Local rider Ian Morrell ended up seventh ahead of Maria Costello, David Madsen-Mygdal and Graham English, with the latter three coming from the second group.

It was McWilliams second victory at the Triangle Circuit having previously won the Supertwins class at the 2013 meeting. “I never thought on the wrong side of 50, I’d be sitting on the top step of the podium at the North West 200,” he said following the race.

It was a much depleted grid for the second Supertwin race after 29 riders started the Thursday race, there were just 17 riders for the second race.

Anstey continues unique record as Seeley notches up record equalling 15th win

Alistair Seeley matched Robert Dunlop’s 15 win record at the North West 200 with a victory in the first Superbike race.

Ian Hutchison was impressive on his PBM Kawasaki, taking the early lead of the race. The top six were close over the five laps with veteran riders Bruce Anstey, Michael Rutter and John McGuinness joining Hutchison and Seeley. Seeley’s Tyco BMW team-mates Guy Martin and William Dunlop were a distant seventh and eighth and it was Dunlop who came out on top of the inter-team battle. Newcomer David Johnson was ninth from the second group with Keith Amor in tenth.

Anstey’s third place finish meant he continued his unique record of at least one podium finish at every North West 200 since 2002. He has corresponding records at the Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix and he will no doubt be hoping to continue both of those records later this year. The top three crossed the line within half a second of each other with the top six separated by just six seconds.

It was an emotional victory for Seeley who equalled the late Robert Dunlop’s record with a 15th win. He also won both Supersport races.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed if I’m honest,” Seeley said after the race. “To have equalled Robert’s record in such a short space of time… I’m stuck for words. I used to watch Joey and Robert race here as a boy and to join Joey on thirteen wins on Thursday was an honour, but to join Robert now on fifteen is just amazing for me and the Tyco BMW team. Big credit to all the boys for a big effort this North West and of course BMW Motorrad for providing top class machinery.”

Seeley wins close fought Supersport race to edge closer to Robert Dunlop’s record

Alistair Seeley took his 14th victory at the North West 200 with a win in the second Supersport race.

Once again it was a close fought affair between Seeley, Glenn Irwin, and Lee Johnston. The trio exchanged the race lead throughout the race but eventually it was Seeley who led when it mattered.

Both Irwin and Johnston overshot chicanes and Johnston’s proved costly as he lost out the opportunity to win by out-braking himself at the penultimate corner. He was given a ten second penalty for failing to stop at the Juniper Hill chicane after running wide but he had enough of a gap to William Dunlop to keep third place. Dunlop finished in fourth place and revealed after the race that he had a problem with first gear. Keith Amor was a distant fifth place ahead of Dean Harrison, John McGuinness and James Hillier. Newcomer Ben Wilson was an impressive ninth place from the second group while Michael Rutter rounded out the top ten.

There were a number of retirements from the race including Dan Kneen, Conor Cummins, Davy Morgan, Jamie Hamilton, Bruce Anstey and Michael Dunlop.

First Superstock race at North West 200 abandoned after two red flags

The first Superstock race at the North West 200 was abandoned following two red flags.

One of the red flags was because of an incident between York Corner and the Mill Road Roundabout. The incident involved three riders – Dean Harrison, Stephen Thompson and Horst Saiger- as well as a female spectator. There was a lengthy delay to wait for the Irish Coastguard to arrive and airlift the spectator to hospital. Tricky conditions of high winds and rain greeted the helicopter as it landed on the golf course.

A statement issued by the North West 200 stated:

There has been a serious incident during the opening Superstock race at the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. A crash, involving three riders, occurred on the section of the course between York Corner and Mill Road Roundabout on the second lap of the race.

Three riders – Dean Harrison, Stephen Thompson and Horst Saiger – were involved in the incident. Dean Harrison was unhurt. Stephen Thompson and Horst Saiger have both been taken to hospital by ambulance after being treated by the race medical team at the scene.

A female spectator was also injured in the incident and after being treated at the scene has been taken to the Royal Victoria hospital, Belfast by helicopter.

A further statement was issued on Saturday evening:

Following a crash during the opening Superstock race at the Vauxhall International North West 200 today a female spectator was airlifted to hospital.

She was taken to the Royal Victoria hospital in Belfast where her condition remains critical.

Stephen Thompson, one of the two riders injured in the crash, has also been transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he is being treated.

The Crumlin, Co Antrim rider, who was racing for the Bathams BMW team, was injured in a collision with Austrian rider, Horst Saiger on the second lap of the race on the section of the course between York corner and Mill Road Roundabout.

Saiger was taken to Causeway hospital and is believed to have only minor injuries.

Horst Saiger took to Twitter to thank everyone for their well wishes. Dean Harrison returned to the paddock after the incident and was out again racing later in the day.

Following the two red flags the race was eventually abandoned having already been carried over from Thursday evening.

Superstock race rescheduled for Saturday at North West 200

The first Superstock race which was due to be held on Thursday evening has been rescheduled for Saturday at the North West 200.

Dry, clear conditions let race organisers complete the first two races – Supersport and Supertwin – but an incident in the third and final race resulted in it red flagged and time running out.

Race one winner Alistair Seeley was on pole position for the Superstock race but it was Lee Johnston – who finished third in the Supersport race – who led by the end of lap one. That was the only full lap that was completed, however, following an incident involving Sandor Bitter at Ballysally Roundabout. The rider was taken to hospital and released a statement on his Facebook page saying that he had broken a few bones, including one rib, and is awaiting further CT and MRI scans. He hopes to be fit for the TT. Paul Shoesmith came off his bike at Metropole but was reported to be uninjured.

As the sun started to set and time ticked on, the race was eventually called off but has been rescheduled for Saturday.

Farquhar holds off McWilliams to take Supertwin victory

Ryan Farquhar was the winner in the Supertwin race on Thursday evening, after holding off team-mate Jeremy McWilliams.

BE Racing’s Jamie Hamilton took the lead at the start resulting in a battle between master and apprentice, with Hamilton having formerly ridden for Farquhar’s KMR Kawasaki team. Farquhar got back into the lead and started to pull away with McWilliams reeling in Hamilton.

When McWilliams dispatched of Hamilton he closed in on Farquhar and did manage to overtake him but eventually it was Farquhar’s race victory as he crossed the line just over a second clear of his team-mate. Martin Jessopp crossed the line in third but it was Hamilton on the podium as Jessopp was handed a 60 second penalty for jumping the start. His eventual classified position was seventh.

Behind the top three Christian Elkin was an impressive fourth ahead of newcomer Derek McGee and Michael Sweeney. Then it was Jessopp who slotted in ahead of Jamie Coward, Darren James, and local rider Ian Morrell. There were three retirements from the race – Anthony McColgan, Michael Dunlop, and Maria Costello.