North West 200 crash riders 'raised light issue' after oil tank fire delayed race
These dramatic pictures show the fire that delayed the North West 200 race in which Dungannon rider Ryan Farquhar was seriously injured.
Racing was scheduled to take place on Thursday between 5pm and 9pm, but the second of two Vauxhall Supertwin races was halted after the fire in a nearby property broke out shortly before 7pm.
Pictures of the oil tank blaze show a huge fireball at the back of the property, with power lines directly overhead.
A giant plume of smoke could also be seen by spectators from both ends of the track.
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said it received a call at 7pm on Thursday to a report of a fire at Station Corner in Portstewart.
"One fire appliance each from Portstewart, Portrush and Ballymoney Fire Stations were deployed to the scene of a terraced house in the area," the spokesman said.
"Firefighters using hosereel jets and breathing apparatus dealt with an oil tank and wheelie bin on fire in the area.
"Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service finished at the scene at 7.35pm and the fire is being treated as accidental."
As racers prepared to start again Farquhar and Dan Cooper are understood to have said they were worried about the waning daylight.
Cooper was quoted as saying "the sun is pretty bad and getting lower", while Farquhar pointed out he could not see the starting lights. As the riders were on their third lap Farquhar, closely followed by Cooper, came off his bike tumbling into airbags after a fast exit at the Dhu Varren section of the course.
Cooper was unable to avoid the Dungannon man's machine and was thrown over the handlebars on to the road and footpath towards Black Hill.
Englishman Cooper was checked out in hospital and was back in the paddock just hours after the high-speed crash.