Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

North West 200 is paradise for petrol heads

Hundreds of bikers arrive on the Stena HSS in Belfast en route to the North West 200
Hundreds of bikers arrive on the Stena HSS in Belfast en route to the North West 200
Hundreds of bikes ride off the Stena HSS at the Port of Belfast to make the trip up to the North West 200
James Mess, Martin Howat and Jim McLatchie from Dumfries arrive at the port.
Paul Owen at the 2009 Kennedy International North West 200 in association with Coca-Cola Zero official Second practice night.
Stephen Thompson and Gary Johnston at the 2009 Kennedy International North West 200 in association with Coca-Cola Zero official Second practice night.
Darren Burns at the 2009 Kennedy International North West 200 in association with Coca-Cola Zero official Second practice night.
The 2009 Kennedy International North West 200 in association with Coca-Cola Zero official Second practice night.
Paul Owenat the 2009 Kennedy International North West 200 in association with Coca-Cola Zero official Second practice night.
Environment Minister Sammy Wilson and David Mateer pictured at the launch
Paul Keenan with Violet keenan and her husband Michael from Glasgow.
Paula Straughton and Lee Postlethwaite from Workington arive at the port.
Derek Hutton(left) and John Davison from Glasgow.
Ian Lougher.
Rain at the NW
Pictured is BBC NI reporter Gavin Andrews with cameraman Gary McCutcheon at the NW 200
David Mateer on the 250 cc
Michael Dunlop
Mark Parrett and Stephen Thompson
Alister Kennedy and Mervyn Whyte.
Keith Amor.
Philip Neil.
Stephen Thompson.
Jim Dunlop.
William Dunlop.
Jimmy Morore and Michael Rutter
Mats Nelison and Ian Lougher.
William Dunlop.
Michael Rutter
Keith Amor.
Michael Dunlop.
Mervyn Whyte
Keith Amor.
Bruce Anstey.
Mark Parrett and Stephen Thompson
Ryan McKowen, Johnny McCay and Allen Dalzell.
John and Mary Petrie
Alanna Sloan and her Mum Cheryl.
Jim McFall and Brian Potts.
Stephen Ferguson, Paul Thompson, Stephen Thompson and James Taylor.
Shane O'Brian and Richard Rea.
Michael Pearson along with his team.
James Redpath, Andrew Lilly and Peter Townsley.
Ellen Laverty and Laura McManus
The 2009 Kennedy International North West 200
Darren Burns
Davy Morgan
William Dunlop
The 2009 Kennedy International North West 200
The 2009 Kennedy International North West 200
The 2009 Kennedy International North West 200
The 2009 Kennedy International North West 200
Superbike Cameron Donald
Michael Rutter and John McGuinness.
Guy Martin
The 2009 Kennedy International North West 200
Bruce Anstey was the man setting the pace last night in the opening Superbikes practice session
Bruce Anstey
Ryan Farquhar
Michael Rutter and John McGuinness
William Dunlop
Chris Palmer
William Dunlop
John McGuinness takes it easy ahead of last night's opening practice session
Michael Dunlop
Keith Amor
Mats Neilson

Petrol heads and motorcycle maniacs once again hit Ulster’s north coast in force yesterday for the second practice day of the North West 200.





But some were left disappointed after the poor weather which has hit the province in recent days meant the practice sessions had to be called off due to rain and lack of light.

The session got off to a dry start with times coming in an average six seconds faster, but after the second practice race of the evening the rain arrived in Portrush, and soon made its way across the whole of the course.

The biking extravaganza regularly attracts crowds of up to 150,000 along its route, which stretches from Portrush to Portstewart and Coleraine.

The famous ‘triangle circuit’ is regarded as one of the fastest in the world. Just four years ago the fastest speed of the event — 201.1mph — was recorded by racer Michael Rutter.

Practice sessions were held on Tuesday for the race, with riders and racers from around the world putting their bikes through their paces in preparation for the big showdown this weekend.

But prayers are still being said for racer John Anderton (29), who last night remained in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of Royal Victoria Hospital after a horrific high-speed crash on Tuesday.

The father-of-one came off his bike as he was exiting Station Corner in Portstewart heading |towards Black Bridge during the final 600cc qualifying.

With thousands of people |expected to brave the wet weather forecast for the weekend, organisers of the event have launched a new tourism campaign to encourage visitors to extend their stay and boost the economic benefits to the area.

The event began life under the City of Derry and District Motor Club following its formation in the early 1920s. With the hope of forming a big event to showcase the sport it was suggested that a 200 mile road race be organised. From this developed the race around the circuit covering the triangle of Coleraine, Portstewart and Portrush. The first race took place on Saturday, April 20, 1929.

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