North West 200: Best places to watch the races
The best areas to witness the spectacle that is the North West have to be the strategically placed grandstands around the circuit — with the start/finish line being the highlight.
From there one can oversee the pre-race tension and excitement of the build-up to each race, the start as riders vie for position heading towards Primrose and then if you are in the right seats you can see the riders flash into view around Quarry Hill and then back onto the Coast Road to start another lap.
Grandstands here are on the outside of the circuit, or there is one in the paddock.
York Hairpin has another grandstand where you can see the riders flash into view, front wheels pawing the air before braking hard for the tight hairpin and away towards Mill Road Roundabout — a great spot for overtaking manoeuvres.
Mill Road Roundabout sees the riders vie for the single file line through the roundabout taken the wrong way around to normal day traffic. Viewing is limited here.
Station Corner is the fastest corner on the circuit. Riders flash through this right-hand kink at about 150mph on a Superbike. Not for the faint-hearted, again it comes with limited viewing as the riders look for the exit speed onto the 200mph section towards University Corner. And no, at that speed the road is not exactly a straight line.
Blacks Bridge, halfway to the University, is spectacular, with riders fighting to keep the front wheel on the tarmac as they slipstream just inches apart.
At University Corner riders arrive scrubbing off speed from 200mph down to 45mph for the 90° left hander and the climb up towards Ballysally Roundabout.
Viewing is from the outside at University and on the inside at the top of the hill towards the roundabout.
Ballysally is not as popular as it once was with bushes blocking the once great view of the riders approaching from University and negotiating the roundabout. Again it is taken against the normal traffic route, the machines cranked to their limit before the quick flick right and away towards Mathers Chicane.
Mathers Chicane is not popular with riders but here you can see them braking from high speed for the tight right-left entrance before powering away towards Magherabuoy. Another chicane at Magherabuoy is a good place to see overtaking on the brakes for the entrance and then powering back onto the main road and the high speed dash to Metropole.
The grandstand at Metropole is a great place to see riders accelerate away towards Church. Metropole is a great overtaking spot before the dash across the Coast Road.
Church is another good vantage point on the approach before riders race through the Railway Bridge at Dhu Varren and up towards Black Hill. This spot is spectacular but becoming more and more difficult to get a good view at. Advice is to get there early to nab a good spot.
Juniper Chicane, where many a race is won or lost, is the final section to make a pass before the final run up Quarry Hill and the final left hander to the finish line.
A popular spectating section is anywhere along the Coast Road with the cliffs and Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop. The best advice is to get to your vantage point early, obey the marshals and officials and finally — STAY OUT OF PROHIBITED AREAS and enjoy a safe day’s racing.
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