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Family makes visitors right at home with NW200 invite

Cups of tea, burgers, a royal wedding and bikes - it is all happening in the North West this weekend, as Karen Ireland finds out

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Supertwin race at the North West 200 on Thursday night

Supertwin race at the North West 200 on Thursday night

Some visitors from Birmingham relax at the Cairn family home

Some visitors from Birmingham relax at the Cairn family home

Kathleen and Arlene Cair

Kathleen and Arlene Cair

Supertwin race at the North West 200 on Thursday night

I don't particularly like motorbikes and I certainly don't like them whizzing past me at 200 miles per hour, but that is the situation I find myself in this weekend.

I have joined the more than 150,000 people who flock to the North West for the annual NW200 celebration.

Why do I find myself in this situation? Well, my other half and my youngest son Teo (14) are simply bike mad. So this is the third year I have been here.

But I found the solution, and it lies with one Portrush family.

Highlights and atmosphere from the first race day at the 2018 NW200 in Portstewart.

Last year we discovered their garden was the perfect spot for watching the races and I, to my great delight, found cups of tea on tap.

So when the bikes were mentioned before Christmas, I only had one condition - 'as long as we go back to the same spot as last year'.

For not only do the Cairn family open up their Portrush garden, they also serve tea and food all day and throw open the doors of their home to strangers from all over the world, with several hundred guests descending on the property for the weekend.

Kathleen and Paul have four grown-up children, Gavin, Nicola, Arlene and Owen, and this year we visited them again on Thursday, the practice night, and I decided to find out more about the true NW hospitality.

Kathleen explained how it all came about. "Around 12 years ago we were sitting in the garden watching the racing when a crowd of five guys from all different nationalities came along and asked us could they join us. It was a lovely sunny day and we had the best craic," she said.

"As the day went on more and more people joined us and we had the best day. The tea was flowing and so was the chat." According to Kathleen, she got the surprise of her life at the end of the day when the group of guys handed her a brown bag thanking her for her hospitality.

North West 200: Thursday 17 May 2018 [photos] Close

Alastair Seeley celebrates after winning the opening Supersport race at the Vauxhall International North West 200. Second was James Hillier and third Lee Johnston.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Alastair Seeley celebrates after winning the opening Supersport race at the Vauxhall International North West 200. Second was James Hillier and third Lee Johnston. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  17/05/2018
North West 200 2018
Alastair Seeley celebrates with his team after winning the super sport race during this evenings Supersport race in the Vauxhall International North West 200.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 17/05/2018 North West 200 2018 Alastair Seeley celebrates with his team after winning the super sport race during this evenings Supersport race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  17/05/2018
North West 200 2018
Packed grandstands during this evenings Supersport race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. 
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 17/05/2018 North West 200 2018 Packed grandstands during this evenings Supersport race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  supersport race 1 
Alastair Seeley (EHA Yamaha) leads into York Corner during the 3rd lap of today's  supersport race 1  at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - supersport race 1 Alastair Seeley (EHA Yamaha) leads into York Corner during the 3rd lap of today's supersport race 1 at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  supersport race 1 
Michael Dunlop ( Honda) during today's  supersport race 1  at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - supersport race 1 Michael Dunlop ( Honda) during today's supersport race 1 at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  superstock race 1 
James Hillier (Quattro Plant JG Speed?t Kawasaki) and Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing BMW) during today's  superstock race 1  at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - superstock race 1 James Hillier (Quattro Plant JG Speed?t Kawasaki) and Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing BMW) during today's superstock race 1 at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

North West 200 2018
Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his first ever North West 200 winthis during this evenings Superstock race in the Vauxhall International North West 200.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

North West 200 2018 Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his first ever North West 200 winthis during this evenings Superstock race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

North West 200 2018
Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his first ever North West 200 winthis during this evenings Superstock race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Alastair Seeley 2nd and Michael Dinlop 3rd
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

North West 200 2018 Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his first ever North West 200 winthis during this evenings Superstock race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Alastair Seeley 2nd and Michael Dinlop 3rd Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

North West 200 2018
Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his first ever North West 200 winthis during this evenings Superstock race in the Vauxhall International North West 200.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

North West 200 2018 Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his first ever North West 200 winthis during this evenings Superstock race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

North West 200 2018
Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his first ever North West 200 winthis during this evenings Superstock race in the Vauxhall International North West 200.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

North West 200 2018 Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his first ever North West 200 winthis during this evenings Superstock race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  17/05/2018
North West 200 2018
Martin Jessop tastes victory in the super twin race during this evenings Supertwin race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Jeremy McWilliams 2nd and Joey Thompson 3rd
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 17/05/2018 North West 200 2018 Martin Jessop tastes victory in the super twin race during this evenings Supertwin race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Jeremy McWilliams 2nd and Joey Thompson 3rd Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  17/05/2018
North West 200 2018
Joey Thompson the youngest rider in the field after his 3rd place with the eldest Jeremy McWilliams 2nd this evenings Supertwin race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. 
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 17/05/2018 North West 200 2018 Joey Thompson the youngest rider in the field after his 3rd place with the eldest Jeremy McWilliams 2nd this evenings Supertwin race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  17/05/2018
North West 200 2018
Martin Jessop tastes victory in the super twin race during this evenings Supertwin race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Jeremy McWilliams 2nd and Joey Thompson 3rd
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 17/05/2018 North West 200 2018 Martin Jessop tastes victory in the super twin race during this evenings Supertwin race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Jeremy McWilliams 2nd and Joey Thompson 3rd Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  17/05/2018
North West 200 2018
Jeremy McWilliams gets a kiss from wife Jill during this evenings Supertwin race in the Vauxhall International North West 200.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 17/05/2018 North West 200 2018 Jeremy McWilliams gets a kiss from wife Jill during this evenings Supertwin race in the Vauxhall International North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Lee Johnston on the grid at the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Lee Johnston on the grid at the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Hundreds of bikers arrive in Northern Ireland by ferry for the North West 200

Hundreds of bikers arrive in Northern Ireland by ferry for the North West 200

Photopress Belfast

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  superbike practice session
James Hillier (Quattro Plant JG Speed?t Kawasaki) during today's  superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - superbike practice session James Hillier (Quattro Plant JG Speed?t Kawasaki) during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  superbike practice session
Alastair Seeley (TYCO BMW) during today's  superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - superbike practice session Alastair Seeley (TYCO BMW) during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  superbike practice session
Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing Honda) during today's  superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - superbike practice session Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing Honda) during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  superbike practice session
Glenn Irwin (Bewiser Ducati) during today's  superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - superbike practice session Glenn Irwin (Bewiser Ducati) during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Glenn Irwin (PBM/Be Wiser Ducati) on his way to pole position for Saturday's Superbike races at the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Glenn Irwin (PBM/Be Wiser Ducati) on his way to pole position for Saturday's Superbike races at the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  superbike practice session
Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing Kawasaki) during today's  superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - superbike practice session Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing Kawasaki) during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

William Dunlop (Temple Racing Yamaha) ahead of Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW) during today's  superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

William Dunlop (Temple Racing Yamaha) ahead of Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW) during today's superbike practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

KMR Kawasaki's Jeremy McWilliams gets his lap times from his wife Jill,  on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

KMR Kawasaki's Jeremy McWilliams gets his lap times from his wife Jill, on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

NW200 officials on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

NW200 officials on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Former race winner, Phillip McCallen hard at work for the BBC during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Former race winner, Phillip McCallen hard at work for the BBC during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Robert Dunlop's mechanic, Liam Beckett was amongst the crowd as several thousand bikers turned out on the North coast tonight to mark the tenth anniversary of the Ballymoney road racer's death.

Robert Dunlop's mechanic, Liam Beckett was amongst the crowd as several thousand bikers turned out on the North coast tonight to mark the tenth anniversary of the Ballymoney road racer's death.

KMR Kawasaki's Jeremy McWilliams chats with team boss Ryan Farquhar on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.

KMR Kawasaki's Jeremy McWilliams chats with team boss Ryan Farquhar on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.

Derek McGee and Jeremy McWilliams give each other the thumbs up on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Derek McGee and Jeremy McWilliams give each other the thumbs up on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

John McGuinness on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

John McGuinness on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Ryan Farquhar on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Ryan Farquhar on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: James Cowton on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: James Cowton on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Joey Thompson during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Joey Thompson during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Michael Rutter and Dean Harrison on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Michael Rutter and Dean Harrison on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  supersport practice session
Michael Dunlop ( Honda) during today's  supersport practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - supersport practice session Michael Dunlop ( Honda) during today's supersport practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  superstock practice session
Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) during today's  superstock practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - superstock practice session Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) during today's superstock practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Dan Kneen on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Dan Kneen on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Michael Rutter on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Michael Rutter on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Jeremy McWilliams on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2018: Jeremy McWilliams on the grid during the second 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 on Thursday. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  supertwins practice session
Big crowd at York Corner during today's  supertwins practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - supertwins practice session Big crowd at York Corner during today's supertwins practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

"I almost passed out when I opened it and there was £300 in it. I couldn't believe it and felt like we hadn't really done much," she said.

"My son Gavin has special needs and we decided to give the money to a charity working with him.

"It just sort of took off from there. The next year we decided to do it again and to be more organised with food etc.

"We have found the same people come back every year from all over the globe.

"We just have a great weekend and a lot of fun. I love just meeting all the people and chatting to them."

But how does the family feel about hundreds of people tramping through their home? For instance, last year when it poured down with rain and I just sheltered in their kitchen all day drinking cups of tea.

North West 200, May 16, 2018 [photos] Close

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Michael Rutter (Bathams BMW), Glenn Irwin (PBM Ducati) and Alastair Seeley (Tyco BMW)  on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Michael Rutter (Bathams BMW), Glenn Irwin (PBM Ducati) and Alastair Seeley (Tyco BMW) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: NW200 newcomer Nadia Schoots  during the opening practice of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: NW200 newcomer Nadia Schoots during the opening practice of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Llja Caljouw from the Netherlands, during the opening practice of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Llja Caljouw from the Netherlands, during the opening practice of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Davey Todd during the opening practice of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Davey Todd during the opening practice of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki) is watched over by team boss Ryan Farquhar on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki) is watched over by team boss Ryan Farquhar on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Alastair Seeley (Tyco BMW) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Alastair Seeley (Tyco BMW) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki) chats with James Cowton (McAdoo Kawasaki) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki) chats with James Cowton (McAdoo Kawasaki) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Dan Kneen (Tyco BMW) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.

Dan Kneen (Tyco BMW) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.

PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Darryl Tweed crashes out of the Supersport session during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Darryl Tweed crashes out of the Supersport session during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Event Director Mervyn Whyte and Clerk of the Course, Stanleigh Murray on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Event Director Mervyn Whyte and Clerk of the Course, Stanleigh Murray on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Michael Dunlop (Tyco BMW) during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Michael Dunlop (Tyco BMW) during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Ian Hutchinson (Padgett's Honda)  during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Ian Hutchinson (Padgett's Honda) during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing)  during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing) during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Alastair Seeley (EHA Yamaha) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Alastair Seeley (EHA Yamaha) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  practice session
Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing Honda) during today's  practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - practice session Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing Honda) during today's practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki) is watched over by team boss Ryan Farquhar on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki) is watched over by team boss Ryan Farquhar on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Alastair Seeley (Tyco BMW) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Alastair Seeley (Tyco BMW) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki) chats with James Cowton (McAdoo Kawasaki) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki) chats with James Cowton (McAdoo Kawasaki) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Darryl Tweed crashes out of the Supersport session during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Darryl Tweed crashes out of the Supersport session during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Dan Kneen (Tyco BMW) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Dan Kneen (Tyco BMW) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Event Director Mervyn Whyte and Clerk of the Course, Stanleigh Murray on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Event Director Mervyn Whyte and Clerk of the Course, Stanleigh Murray on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Michael Dunlop (Tyco BMW) during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Michael Dunlop (Tyco BMW) during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Ian Hutchinson (Padgett's Honda)  during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Ian Hutchinson (Padgett's Honda) during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing)  during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing) during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Alastair Seeley (EHA Yamaha) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 15/5/2018: Alastair Seeley (EHA Yamaha) on the grid during the first practice session of the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18
Vauxhall International North West 200 -  practice session
Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing Honda) during today's  practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast 12-5-18 Vauxhall International North West 200 - practice session Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing Honda) during today's practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

"We don't mind at all as everyone is so nice," said Kathleen. "They are all very polite and well-behaved and we have never had any problems.

"When people leave there isn't one bit of rubbish in the garden.

"I just feel so bad if it rains or the bikes are cancelled and people are just sitting about - I keep giving them food and feeding them all day.

"I also worry a lot about the safety of the riders if the weather is bad.

"This year it is looking good and of course the royal wedding will be on television for the women." That's another tick for me!

Daughter Arlene, who works in a local hotel, said: "We used to hate the North West when we were younger as we were barricaded into the house for the weekend, but now we really look forward to it.

"There is such a buzz in the house, it is unbelievable. Last year we had people from as far away as Australia.

"It is a busy day and we are on the go from about 6.30am.

"Mum is up baking fresh scones and getting all the food ready.

"We go through about 100 burgers on the day and I am usually in charge of the barbecue. I can't wait for the burgers to run out so I can join in the party."

So, with cups of tea on tap, the royal wedding and my happy men, it safe to say I don't mind channelling my inner biker chick this weekend.

Belfast Telegraph