Belfast Telegraph

Stefano Bonetti becomes first Italian to win at North West 200

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. Event director Mervyn Whyte congratulates him
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. Event director Mervyn Whyte congratulates him Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-5-19 MCL Insuretech Supertwin Race - Fona Cab International NW200 Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki)heads Derek McGee (KMR Kawasaki) and Michael Rutter (Bathams 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 Derek McGee (KMR Kawasaki) ahead of Michael Rutter (Bathams 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 Derek McGee (KMR Kawasaki) ahead of Michael Rutter (Bathams 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 Derek McGee (KMR Kawasaki) and 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 Jamie Coward (KTS Racing Kawasaki) leads Stefano Bonetti (VAS Engine Racing Paton) 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
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
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 (right) is congratulated on his win by the legend Michael Rutter after this evenings MCL Insuretech Supertwin race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

By Roy Harris

The Italian National Anthem rang out around the Triangle race circuit for the first time in the 90-year history of the North West 200, as Stefano Bonetti came out the winner of the MCL Insuretech 4-lap Supertwin race.

A six-man battle saw Jeremy McWilliams lead by Magherabuoy Chicane on lap one with Bonetti, Derek McGee, Michael Rutter, Jamie Coward and Christian Elkin hot on his heels

On lap two Bonetti on the Paton pulled alongside the KMR Kawasaki’s of McWilliams and McGee on the fast run out to University and take the lead.

Trying to out-brake Bonetti at Mathers Chicane McWilliams went in too hot, went across the grass and fell off, sliding back across the track in front of McGee, and Rutter with Elkin taking avoiding action at the back of the group.

The 55-year old ex Grand Prix winner was unhurt in what was his second tumble of the day.

This allowed Bonetti to escape with all eyes on Jamie Coward the pole setter, who was starting to make up ground from fifth position, going into third on the third lap as Bonetti stretched the lead over McGee.

The action was at Mathers again with Coward taking the inside line on McGee, the Mullingar man taking to the slip road and incurring a penalty, before he headed to the pits to retire actually clipping the kerb on his way into the pits.

Coward closed in on the Italian and on the final lap he took the lead at University, only to see the Paton come past again before Mathers and take a three-bike length lead out of Metropole and onto the Coast Road for the last time.

It was too much for Coward to pull back and history was made as with Bonetti taking the win by 0.579sec.

Michael Rutter was a further six seconds back in third on the first KMR machine to finish with three more Patons in the hands of James Chawke, Horst Saiger and another Italian Francesco Curinga, a newcomer, finishing fourth, fifth and sixth.

Carl Phillips, another newcomer, was the best of the local runners in eighth position on a Team ILR/Mark Coverdale Paton.

Bonetti said, through an interpreter, “I started the race slow and then once in front try, try, try for the win. Dream for every rider to win here and on an Italian machine as well is something special.”

Rutter said comically, “That lunatic McWilliams wouldn’t let the brakes off and it was a bit chaotic for a minute. It’s been a hard week, I’m off to the Anchor to get p*****.”

 

Supertwin result – 1st S. Bonetti avg speed 109.257mph, 2nd J. Coward 109.203, 3rd M. Rutter 108.572, 4th J. Chawke 106.898, 5th H. Saiger 106.873, 6th F. Curinga 106.797

Fastest Lap – Coward (Lap 3) 110.224mph

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