NW200: Live updates

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0818: Good morning race fans! Roads close on the North West 200 course in just over an hour’s time, and the paddock and start area is already pretty packed! We’ve got a revised race schedule for today after the cancellation of Thursday night’s Superstock race.

  • Race 1 Spidi Superstock race 6 laps
  • Race 2 Betmclean.com Supersport Race 6 laps
  • Race 3 Monster Energy Superbike Race 7 laps
  • Race 4 The Anchor Portstewart Supertwin Race 4 laps
  • Race 5 CP Hire Superstock Race 6 laps
  • Race 6 Vauxhall NW200 Superbike Race 7 laps

0840: It’s been raining overnight here, but right as forecasted the clouds broke this morning and the blue skies have rolled in.

0919: Sun’s out!

0942: Roads officially closed, first race underway in an hour or so.

0949: Ready to rock!

Ladies and gentlemen some of the unsung heroes of the #NW200

Posted by BBC nw200 on Saturday, 16 May 2015

0954: Ready out on track too!

In position here at Metropole #nw200 #northwest200 @BBC_NI_Bikes

A photo posted by Dave Moore (@davemooretv) on May 16, 2015 at 1:49am PDT

1012: Well, that’s thrown a spanner in the works. Heavy rain and very strong winds, out of nowhere!

1017: The good news, though, is that not only is the circuit normally quick to dry out, but that the weather radar says we might have another shower in half an hour or so but after that it’s all good for the rest of the day. The sunshine and blue skies are already out again!

1031: As promised, sun is shining and the wind is helping dry the track out. Reports of damp in the shadier parts of the circuit though, which will make things interesting!

1042: Just setting out on their sighting lap!

1053: Heavy shower just after the warm-up lap, as the forecast said, but the good news is that it’s stopped, blue skies are back, no more rain forecast and it’s drying out really quickly – as Alastair Seeley says.


1119: Right, that’s over! Rain was only on some of the circuit apparently, so most of it remained dry and the bit that did get wet (the Coast Road) is the fastest drying part. Second sighting lap is done, they’re forming up on the grid, and we’re going racing very soon!

1127: Superstock race is GOOOOOO! Don’t forget you can watch live here.

1131: Hell of a first lap, and the whole front group is ultra close. Seeley, Hutchinson, Johnston, M Dunlop, Rutter and Kneen, all covered by three seconds.

1133: RED FLAG.

1140: While we’re stopped – Guy Martin apologised before the start of the race for his comments on Thursday about the North West being boring. Must admit though, the apology sounded a little forced!

1203: Update on the red flag – Dean Harrison: “I hit the kerb coming out of York Corner and went down.” He’s back in the pits already but more riders were involved too – more news on them when we find out.

1213: Making the most of the delay.

1241: Still stopped here – and the heavens have just opened for the heaviest shower of the day so far. No more word on injured riders or on when we’re going to get going again.

1247: The Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter has just landed at York Corner in it’s air ambulance role.

1304: There’s a lot of big stones out on the track, as Keith Amor was unlucky enough to find out on the opening lap of that Superstock race! BBC are doing a stellar job here of filling the time on the grid.

1308: Superstock bikes being called to the grid for restart.

1319: Away on their sighting lap. Going to be a four lap complete race.

1330: We’re go, for the third time, with the Spidi Superstock race. Bruce Anstey leads away from the line, from Lee Johnston.

1334: We get one lap done, with Alastair Seeley not having it all his own way back in third behind Lee Johnston and Ian Hutchinson, and the red flags come out again.

1338: The front group of riders have been stopped at Ballysally.

1341: Sounds like simultaneous crashes at Mathers and Magherabouy chicanes, but hoping for a quick restart. Official confirmation that we’ve abandoned the superstock race and are moving on to supersport.

1344: Statement from the earlier red flag confirming that two riders – Horst Saiger and Stephen Thompson – and a spectator were hurt.

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 Rouandabout 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.

1353: Event director Mervyn Whyte has just told BBC that the rider involved in the second red flag – a crash at Magerabouy chicance – was unhurt and back on his feet by the time he got there.

1404: Supersport bikes on the grid after their wam-up lap – and good to see them joined by Sandor Bitter, who was hurt on Thursday. 

Hungarian rider Sandor Bitter who crashed on Thursday night has just arrived back at the circuit after been released from hospital.

Posted by The International North West 200 on Saturday, 16 May 2015

1408: Incredible stuff as the supersport bikes get off the line – not only is newcomer Glenn Irwin leading, but he’s pulling a gap from Bruce Anstey and Lee Johnston!

1413: Irwin is three quarters of a second clear at the front now, ahead of Seeley and Lee Johnston, battling together for second. That pair have a second on Michael Dunlop, ahead of Bruce Anstey and William Dunlop.

1414: It’s slipstream city on the run out of Station Corner, with Seeley and Johnston making the most of it to suck in Irwin.

1416: Nothing in it at the line – and Seeley even looks at a move up the inside of Irwin exiting the start finish chicane!

1420: Big moment for Seeley at Magerabouy chicane costs him some time. 

William Dunlop up to fourth ahead of a surprise appearance by John McGuinness! Anstey and Michael Dunlop both out of the race.

1422: Irwin holds the lead over the line, but there’s only 0.4 over the top three and they’re trading places constantly in the slipstream. They’ve pulled over four seconds on Dunlop now.

1423: Wet roads at Ballysally!

1427: Still two laps to go and Seeley has broken slightly clear after Irwin lost time hunting for a tear-off! He’s 1.7 seconds ahead of Irwin and Johnston now.

1429: Huge moment for Johnston on the exit of Metropole, but he saves it – and scares the other two enought that it doesn’t cost him any time!

1430: Irwin gets totally trapped by a backmarker at Juniper Chicane, and the other two get away from him – can he pull it back on the slipstream? Last lap!

1435: WHAT A FINISH! Irwin tries to go around the outside at Juniper, ends up going across the dirt to make it around the chicane, while Lee Johnston straigh lines it! Seeley takes the win, Johnston crosses the line second – but gives up the place to Irwin after being penalised ten seconds for that move.

William Dunlop takes fourth, ahead of Keith Amor, Dean Harrison, John McGuinness, and James Hillier.

1446: We think he’s happy!

1452: It’s superbike time!

1510: Sighting lap done, and Dan Kneen confirms that it’s a slipping clutch that took him out of action.

Meanwhile, some words from supersport winner Alastair Seeley.

1515: Less than a lap of superbikes, and the red flags go out again.

1530: Little bit of good news while we wait to see what’s caused the red flag – good to see Horst Saiger is smiling again.

1543: It’s been a bad day here so far, but spare a thought for the amazing people who have to respond to all the incidents (and who do it as volunteers!). 

1550: We’re go again – superbikes are on their out lap. Nothing official, but hearing that the red flag was an incident involving two riders but no serious injuries.

1601: We’re go again – and Seeley leads!

1603: Seeley leads as they slipstream towards Portrush – but it’s Ian Hutchinson who’s on the move in second!

1605: Combined effort of four bikes together has pulled Seeley backwards – Hutchy leads at the end of lap one from Lee Johnston and Bruce Anstey, with Seeley fourth.

Dean Harrison and Jamie Hamilton have retired to the pits.

1608: Johnston goes for a move into Mathers Chicane, gts it wrong, and has to ride straight through it. Goes froms econd to fifth – and it’ll be harsh if he gets a ten second penalty for it.

1610: Hutchinson and Anstey lead over the line – but a dark horse has snuck forwards and caught Seeley in the shape of old hand Michael Rutter! Johnston is back in fifth, just ajead of Gary Johnson and Conor Cummins.

1614: Hutchy still leads at the end of lap three of five. There’s nothing covering him, Seeley (now in second), Anstey and Johnston, while Rutter has dropped back a little to fifth.

Gary Johnson pulls the GBmoto Kawasaki into the pits.

1617: We’re seeing some high speeds in this one – all the front group inches from each other at 196-199mph, with Rutter and Anstey both breaking the 200mph mark.

1618: It looks like Lee Johnston might have avoided a penalty for that chicane move. He’s running second now, ahead of Seeley again and only 0.3 behind Hutchy at the line.

Good ride from both the old men in the group – Rutter and McGuinness in fifth and sixth!

1621: Big push coming from Seeley now, as he tries to close down Hutchy and get himself into place for a last lap overtake attempt. They’re on the run into Portrush now.

1623: Seeley takes the win – and equals Robert Dunlop’s record. Hutchy takes second and Bruce Anstey extends that incredible podium record of his again. Lee Johnston escapes a time penalty in fourth (he stopped and let the rest through, after all!) and Rutter and McGuinness take fifth and sixth.

William Dunlop and Guy Martin make it three Tyco BMWs in the top eight, as well!

1635: Ian Hutchinson seems quite happy with that result!


1655: Supertwins back from their sighting lap and ready to race!

1659: Farquhar leads on the first lap, McWilliams tries a move, and Farquhar pulls the latest braking maneuver ever into Metroopole to take the lead back. In the words of BBC commentator Richard Nicholl, he ‘frightened his way into the lead there!’

1700: McWilliams get his team boss again on the Coast Road, but Jamie Hamilton is right there with them too!

1705: End of lap two of four, and it’s still anyone’s – every chicane and every straight has been a passing opportunity for Farquhar, McWIlliams and Hamilton, and they’re trading places constantly.

1710: They might be doing 150mph inches from each other, but it’s good to see Ryan and Jeremy still have the time to be polite 😉

1714: Looks like Farquhar is too far away to do any damage on the Coast Road.. 

1716: McWIlliams does it! Holds it to the line to win by half a second from team boss Farquhar. Jamie Hamilton comes in a distant third, eleven seconds down – he must have made a mistake somewhere.

1741: Superstocks go out on their sighting lap, and it starts to rain. There’s just been no good luck at all for the class today.

1805: Another sighting lap for superstocks after quite a few tyre changes on the grid.

1818: They’re away – and surprise, surprise it’s Seeley in front! Lee Johnston is once again away with him though – remember, despite not having a superstock race result yet Lee has led one three times!

1824: Johnston pulls out a few bike lengths, but Seeley looks content to let him. Michael Dunlop – finally having a good race today – is tucked in behind in third at the end of the lap.

1828: End of lap two, and not much has changed at the front! It’s hard to tell if Seeley is letting Johnston lead and just sitting comfortable – or if he’s struggling to keep up with him! Dunlop looks happy in third though, well clear of Ian Hutchinson in fourth and an impressive ride from Martin Jessopp in fifth.

1829: Seeley got a great run out of the Mill Road roundabout that left him able to get alongside Johnston into Station corner. However, with the two of them high speed dicing, Dulop was able to haul in the pair of them – and rode right past them to the lead!

1832: End of lap three, and the dicing of the leading trio (with Johnston taking the lead back off Dunlop) has given Hutchy the chance to join in again! The foursome are six seconds clear of William Dunlop in fifth.

1836: It all looks a bit tame on the penultimate lap – no one risking the chance to show their cards too early. Seeley, Johnston, Dunlop, Hutchinson, all separated by a second.

1839: Seeley takes the lead from Johnston at Metropole. Johnston goes back ahead at Black Hill. Blocks him through Juniper. HOLDS HIM! Lee Johnston holds him off, and Hutchinson takes Dunlop for another podium at the end!

1848: Sporting comments from Seeley after the race.

1850: Oh yes, and a 4.25.384 lap record for Ian Hutchinson on the last lap.

1906: The wind has picked up, and there’s talk that we won’t go ahead now. Alastair Seeley has just made it quite clear that he thinks it could be dangerous on the high speed sections of the track. Teammate William Dunlop agrees, and says ‘seven laps is far too long anyway’ for race distance.

1916: Well folks, after a day of wet weather, it looks like it’s actually the wind that’s brought a premature end to the day. 

What a day it’s been. Some amazing racing, odd weather, and Robert Dunlop’s record remains! All the best to injured riders and fans, thanks for tuning in, and make sure and check out Wednesday’s paper for all the insight and analysis.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer