NW200: Racing abandoned in heavy rain
For the second time in three years, Saturday's race action at the International North West 200 fell victim to the weather as torrential rain led to just two laps of racing being completed. The rain that began to fall overnight ceased to stop falling, getting heavier as the day wore on, and a final course inspection by Event Director Mervyn Whyte and riders John McGuinness, Michael Rutter and Stuart Easton just before 3pm gave everyone the decision they were expecting.
Whyte said, "We took a final course inspection but there's a huge amount of standing water, especially along the coast road and it's just not possible to go racing. We've had three road sweepers out on the course pumping the water away but it's having no effect. There's been no let up in the rain and it's forecast to continue beyond 7pm. I'm gutted for the thousands of fans who've turned up but in the interest of safety we've had no choice but to make this decision."
Six times winner McGuinness was almost speechless after seeing gorgeous sunshine on Friday replaced by monsoon-like conditions on Saturday. "There's four-five inches of water through the Juniper Chicane section and it's like a swimming pool, there's no other way to describe it. University to Mathers was about rideable but the coast road is completely underwater."
Team-mate Rutter added, "it's terrible and the circuit's practically flooded everywhere. I've been coming here a long time but it's the worst I've ever seen it. Mervyn took us round and asked for our opinion but everyone can see for themselves how bad it is."