Belfast Telegraph

Johnston and Hickman kick off North West 200 in style

PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019
Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his victory during this evenings Bayview Hotel Superstock race at the North West 200. 2nd Glenn Irwin 3rd Michael Dunlop
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his victory during this evenings Bayview Hotel Superstock race at the North West 200. 2nd Glenn Irwin 3rd Michael Dunlop Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 MCL Insuretech Supertwin Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Derek McGee (KMR Kawasaki) with Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki) in close proximity at Ballysally Roundabout during today's MCL Insuretech Supertwin Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
16/05/19 Pacemaker Press Intl/Rod Neill: Peter Hickman (Smiths BMW) on his way to victory in the Superstock race at NW2019. Photo: Rod Neill
16/05/19 Pacemaker Press Intl/Rod Neill: Peter Hickman (Smiths BMW) on his way to victory in the Superstock race at NW2019. Photo: Rod Neill
16/05/19 Pacemaker Press Intl/Rod Neill: Michael Dunlop (MD Racing) battled his way to third place in the Superstock race. Photo: Rod Neill
16/05/19 Pacemaker Press Intl/Rod Neill: Glenn Irwin (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) took second place in Superstock race at NW200. Photo: Rod Neill
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 Bayview Hotel Superstock Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) leading Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing Kawasaki) and Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki) at Ballysally Roundabout during today's Bayview Hotel Superstock Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 Bayview Hotel Superstock Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing) heads Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing BMW) at Ballysally Roundabout during today's Bayview Hotel Superstock Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 Bayview Hotel Superstock Race - Fona Cab International NW200 James Hillier (Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki) heads Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing BMW) and Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing) at Ballysally Roundabout during today's Bayview Hotel Superstock Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 Bayview Hotel Superstock Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) leads at Ballysally Roundabout during today's Bayview Hotel Superstock Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 Bayview Hotel Superstock Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Glenn Irwin (Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki) follows Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing Kawasaki) at Ballysally Roundabout during today's Bayview Hotel Superstock Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 Bayview Hotel Superstock Race - Fona Cab International NW200 James Hillier (Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki) heads Michael Dunlop (MD Racing BMW) and Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing) at Ballysally Roundabout during today's Bayview Hotel Superstock Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 Bayview Hotel Superstock Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing BMW) at Ballysally Roundabout during today's Bayview Hotel Superstock Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 Bayview Hotel Superstock Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) at Ballysally Roundabout during today's Bayview Hotel Superstock Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 Bayview Hotel Superstock Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Michael Dunlop (MD Racing BMW) at Ballysally Roundabout during today's Bayview Hotel Superstock Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his victory during this evenings Bayview Hotel Superstock race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 Michael Dunlop with plenty on his mind after his 3rd place finish in this evenings Bayview Hotel Superstock race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his victory during this evenings Bayview Hotel Superstock race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 Michael Dunlop with plenty on his mind after his 3rd place finish in this evenings Bayview Hotel Superstock race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 Michael Dunlop with plenty on his mind after his 3rd place finish in this evenings Bayview Hotel Superstock race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his victory during this evenings Bayview Hotel Superstock race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his victory during this evenings Bayview Hotel Superstock race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 Peter Hickman (60) celebrates his victory during this evenings Bayview Hotel Superstock race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
16/05/19 Pacemaker Press Intl/Rod Neill: Jeremy McWilliams was an early leader in the Supertwins race at NW200. Photo: Rod Neill
16/05/19 Pacemaker Press Intl/Rod Neill: Close racing between KMR teammates Derek McGee and Michael Rutter. Photo: Rod Neill
16/05/19 Pacemaker Press Intl/Rod Neill: Stefano Bonetti from Italy took the honours from Jamie Coward in the Supertwin race. Photo: Rod Neill
16/05/19 Pacemaker Press Intl/Rod Neill: Stefano Bonetti from Italy took the honours from Jamie Coward in the Supertwin race. Photo: Rod Neill
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 The first ever Italian winner Stefano Bonetti celebrates winning after this evenings MCL Insuretech Supertwin race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 The first ever Italian winner Stefano Bonetti celebrates winning after this evenings MCL Insuretech Supertwin race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 MCL Insuretech Supertwin Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Jamie Coward (KTS Racing Kawasaki) leads Derek McGee (KMR Kawasaki) at Ballysally Roundabout during today's MCL Insuretech Supertwin Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 MCL Insuretech Supertwin Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Jamie Coward (KTS Racing Kawasaki) at Ballysally Roundabout during today's MCL Insuretech Supertwin Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 MCL Insuretech Supertwin Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Stefano Bonetti (VAS Engine Racing Paton) leads the pack followed by Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki) and Derek McGee (KMR Kawasaki) at Ballysally Roundabout during today's MCL Insuretech Supertwin Race at the Fona Cab International NW200 in Co Antrim. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 The first ever Italian winner Stefano Bonetti celebrates winning after this evenings MCL Insuretech Supertwin race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 The first ever Italian winner Stefano Bonetti celebrates winning after this evenings MCL Insuretech Supertwin race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2019 The first ever Italian winner Stefano Bonetti celebrates winning after this evenings MCL Insuretech Supertwin race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

By Roy Harris

What a sensational start to the 90th Anniversary North West 200.

It kicked off with a 6-lap Supersport race that saw Lee Johnston emerge victorious after a last lap sort out at Juniper Chicane, as Alastair Seeley tried to out brake the Ashcourt Yamaha with a daring inside move only to get in too hot and shoot over the gravel.

He looked to get things back under control the rear wheel caught the grass and he was thrown from the EHA Yamaha almost taking James Hillier with him.

Seeley was uninjured, as Johnston raced on to take his fourth North West 200 win and his first in the Supersport class.

You could have felt the nervous tension before the start and Seeley, Johnston and Hillier all led the first lap from Dean Harrison and then a gap to Paul Jordan and Michael Dunlop while Derek McGee went straight on at Magherabuoy Chicane.

From there it was a five-bike freight train as Jordan was having the race of his life catching up on the quartet at the front setting a fastest lap on his second circuit of 116.699mph, as Dunlop dropped off the pace into sixth.

At the front it was nip and tuck with the slip streaming moves incredible, at times three abreast into the braking area at University with fourth placed man Hillier steaming past into the lead.

Jordan was forced to retire at Mill Road Roundabout on lap five, as the race win was in doubt right until the final chicane and the shenanigans there.

Pole man Peter Hickman made up for his Supersport retirement when he scored a comfortable win in the 6-lap Superstock race from Glenn Irwin and a terrific popular podium for Michael Dunlop.

Irwin and Harrison were locked in a great battle for second, arguably slowing each other up as Hickman got away, until Harrison lost the front end at University and crashed out unhurt.

Dunlop got past Lee Johnston at the Metropole on lap five and held off the last lap challenge of the earlier race winner to take a very popular podium position in third position.

Behind Dunlop came Hillier, who got the best of Johnston with Richard Copper a brilliant sixth on his debut.

 

Supersport result – 1st L. Johnston avg speed 116.058mph, 2nd Dean Harrison 116.007, 3rd J. Hillier 115.943, 4th M. Dunlop 114.316, 5th J. Coward 114.217, 6th I. Hutchinson 114.155

Fastest Lap – Johnston (Lap 6) – 116.575mph

Superstock result – 1st P. Hickman avg speed 121.908mph, 2nd G. Irwin 121.762, 3rd M. Dunlop 120.975, 4th J. Hillier 120.939, 5th L. Johnston 120.871, 6th R. Cooper 120.085

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