Large North West 200 preview and race week schedule

2023 North West 200

With Ben McCook

The North West 200 will get underneath means in Northern Eire later in the present day. After a winter of uncertainty that noticed the occasion cancelled on account of insurance coverage causes after which reinstated as soon as points have been ironed out, the joy on the Irish North Coast is cranked as much as the max in anticipation of the occasion. Race-week begins with the Coronation financial institution vacation adopted by apply the next morning. To say there’s an actual vacation really feel within the space could be an understatement. Of-course it definitely helps that ‘The world’s strongest line up of highway racing expertise’ is camped out within the paddock and raring to go…

The entry is a who’s who of BSB expertise; a gathering of collection leaders and potential champions mounted upon a stunning arsenal of two-wheeled finery.

Glenn Irwin on the 2022 NW200

Topping the invoice are Glenn Irwin and our personal Josh Brookes who sit 1 and a couple of on the head of the BSB standings, separated by 4 factors after two rounds. Irwin has received the previous six superbike races on the NW 200 and has to begin favorite. After spells with Kawasaki and Honda, Irwin is now again with the PBM Ducati staff that gave him his first 3 North West victories. The BeerMonster squad acquired a brand new engine from the Bologna manufacturing unit particularly for the North West this week…

“Oh Alvaro.. Muchas Gracias amigo.” tweeted Irwin in appreciation, indicating that it’s a World Superbike spec motor. On the 30th anniversary of Carl Fogarty’s North West 200 double on the thumping Moto Cinelli 888, it will be becoming if the Carrickfergus man might repeat his personal 2022 SBK brace with Honda, solely this time in pink.

“The NW200 will at all times be the main target of my highway racing. From day one this place has felt like dwelling as a result of it’s dwelling. I do know the monitor just like the again of my hand and I’m getting pushed tougher and tougher, however I nonetheless assume there’s a hell of loads of there and I’ve extra to present.”

Glenn Irwin might be on a Ducati for the NW200 this yr and Italy have despatched a particular motor over for the occasion.

Josh Brookes bagged a podium with the PBM squad final yr within the blue ribband 2nd Superbike race. Nevertheless, that podium was a uncommon spotlight for Brookes on the Ducati (now in Irwin’s fingers) in the course of the making an attempt seasons that adopted his title profitable yr in 2020.

Josh Brookes was on a Ducati for the NW200 in 2022

Many thought the 40-year-old was completed. However they are saying {that a} ‘change is nearly as good as a relaxation’ and now that the NSW born veteran has signed for FHO BMW, the outdated magic is again and few would rule out a 3rd BSB title. His rediscovered kind has the locals licking their lips on the considered Irwin and Brookes’ BSB rivalry spilling over onto the 320 KMH public roads circuit subsequent Saturday.

“I’ve been driving and racing over the winter in Australia, so I’ve had a while to adapt to the BMW. The bike has a brand new engine this yr which has very totally different traits…. The goal must be to win races. I used to be on the rostrum final yr. Peter set a brand new outright lap report on the BMW and the bike is even higher now so I don’t assume that’s unrealistic.”

On the 2014 North West 200 Brookes ultimately completed second in 2014, beating Seeley by 1.6 seconds after setting a brand new outright lap report of 122.958mph on the ultimate lap of the race in what was solely the Aussie BSB star’s third highway race assembly.

It’s value mentioning that Brookes broke the NW outright lap report in 2014 on a Milwaukee Yamaha. This yr Alastair Seeley is armed with a TAS BMW, resplendent in these well-known Milwaukee colors. Ian Hutchinson had been on account of experience the TAS bike however suffered a stroke whereas coaching in the course of the low season and Seeley has been handed the reigns.

“Everybody is aware of how necessary the North West 200 is on my racing calendar. So, to have the ability to add a Milwaukee BMW M1000RR Superbike to my present deal is a dream come true. I examined the bike earlier this week and based mostly on that, I now can’t wait to race it on the North Coast.”

Josh Brookes joins Peter Hickman at FHO Racing BMW for the 2023 North West 200
Josh Brookes joins Peter Hickman at FHO Racing BMW for the 2023 North West 200

Whereas Seeley will not be battling with Irwin and Brookes in BSB, he has 27 North West victories (13 greater than Robert Dunlop on the all-time winners checklist). The 43-year-old is again racing within the UK after just a few years competing within the low-key native Irish championships.

Any ideas that his starvation could have diminished throughout that point have been shortly dispelled by the sight of Seeley boxing Alex Olsen within the sand entice at Oulton Park final week after Olsen ran them each of monitor.

Alastair Seeley

Seeley is Mr. NW 200 and it’ll take one thing particular to beat the ‘Wee Wizard’ this week. He additionally has a v2 Ducati for Supersport and the prospect of bagging his 30th win will solely enhance his motivation in all courses.

Davey Todd might be determined to face on prime of the rostrum this yr after the Saltburn-by-the-sea man completed runner-up on 4 events 12 months in the past. For 2023, the reigning British Superstock champion now competes in Superbike and it’s truthful to say he’s struggled a little bit to date this yr. Nevertheless, again on the roads, Todd ought to relish the acquainted environment. The 27-year-old gave Irwin an actual race final yr in SBK 1 however was pulled from race 2 on security grounds amidst the notorious Dunlop tyres controversy. Todd might be eager to get his season on monitor and kick the ‘bride’s maid’ tag to the kerb as soon as and for all.

Davey Todd

Peter Hickman was significantly impacted by Dunlop’s tyre points final yr. After he broke the outright lap report on the FHO BMW, his rear slick gave up on him- delaminating in a stunning method that posed a significant H&S conundrum for the choice makers.

“I used to be doing 197mph when the tyre let go.” He stated.

In the long run all Dunlop runners have been pulled from race and Hickman left Northern Eire pissed off together with his displaying.

“I wish to win a superbike race right here. I’ve come right here so lengthy now and by no means completed it. We now have the tempo to win, we simply want all the celebs to align.”

In fashionable occasions Peter Hickman is ‘the person’ on the TT, however he’s but to match that success on the North West

Hickman’s most important TT rival, Dean Harrison managed a powerful 10th at Oulton Park final week. ‘Deano’ could nicely go underneath the radar together with his new discovered superbike kind and chalk up some attention-grabbing outcomes. As ever, he’ll be on the DAO Kawasaki for the large races however has joined up with BPE/ Russell to marketing campaign an R6 alongside Richard Cooper. It’s presumably a sport changer for Harrison.

“I rode the Yamaha throughout a check at Cartagena in Spain and I did my quickest ever 600cc lap round there.”

Dean Harrison and Richard Cooper

Richard Cooper comes into the occasion on prime kind, main the F900 BMW cup collection in BSB. The newborn-faced 40-year-old had a combined 2022 occasion. He misplaced a dominant double Supertwin win after his Ryan Farquhar ready bike was disqualified for a technical infringement. To at the present time there may be nice discourse and debate surrounding the scenario, with some rumours circulating that the outcomes could but be determined in courtroom… It was an actual disgrace as Cooper’s efficiency was faultless.

On the eve of the opening day of motion this yr, the sensational information broke that Cooper could be reunited with the JMcC roofing staff to experience a Ryan Farquhar ready Supertwin as soon as once more after a take care of Michael Rutter’s Batham’s staff fell via on the final minute. Cooper and Farquhar might be out to take revenge and Cooper’s efficiency will certainly show as soon as and for all whether or not final yr’s bike gave him an unfair benefit or not.

Other than that controversy, Cooper’s experience on the HAWK racing Superbike was additionally extremely spectacular final yr. He was the one rider to maintain Irwin inside touching distance in the course of the all-important ultimate SBK contest.

Sadly, the Nottingham man has no 1000cc bikes at his disposal this yr however he does have a BPE/ Russell racing r6 for supersport. In addition to main the F900 BMW cup in BSB, he’s additionally scored a few podiums in BSS on the R6 and it will seem that the diminutive rider is nicely fired up to make sure his identify is written into and stays within the report books this week.

“The NW 200 is a longtime a part of my season now. I’ve been there twice, been profitable each occasions and gained expertise in all climate circumstances.”

Main the BSS championship is Lee Johnston. The tiny Irishman has received a TT and racked up a number of race wins on 600cc machinery- he received the Saturday middleweight encounter final yr at this occasion. Nevertheless, he’s eager to shake off the category specialist tag.

“I might actually like to win one other large bike race on the North West 200. Everybody say’s I’m too small to do it however I do know I can.” Stated Lee Johnston.    

‘Common Lee’ is again on Honda for SBK after quite a lot of years on BMW. The Fireblade in query has been bought from Honda Racing UK and is Glenn Irwin’s machine from final yr. Little question it is going to be ok to win.

Honda Racing have John McGuiness (now in his 50s) and Nathan Harrison signed as much as do their bidding. McPint proved in 2022 that he nonetheless has what it takes and you’ll wager that he might be ‘there or there-abouts’ to borrow his well-worn phrase. Nevertheless it’s younger staff mate, Nathan Harrison who is maybe probably the most attention-grabbing prospect on the grid. A manufacturing unit rider for the primary time, the younger Manxman might be hoping to be taught all he can from his older team-mate; put it to good use and make the step as much as race profitable contender.

Nathan Harrison and John McGuinness

However maybe Honda’s finest probabilities lie with Michael Dunlop. The Ballymoney man is again with the large H as he rides a fireblade for a similar Hawk racing staff who equipped his GSXR in 2022. Honda and Dunlop in the identical sentence evokes all types of nostalgia and romance. Uncle Joey spent most of his profession with the Japanese marque…. Nevertheless, ‘the Bull’ received’t be fascinated with wanting again, solely ahead. Like Dean Harrison he has been driving BSB in an try and hone his nice expertise even additional for the roads. Whereas he could not have set the world on fireplace racing in England, it have to be remembered that for this out and out highway racer, success in that enviornment is not going to have been the purpose of the train. There is not going to be a extra in style victory across the triangle course if MD manages to win a race at this yr’s occasion.

Michael Dunlop on a Honda this yr

James Hillier had a forgettable 2022. When the information broke that he had signed for OMG Yamaha for 22 (ending a long-standing relationship with Kawasaki) there have been many who thought it was a match made in heaven and simply what Hillier wanted to make the following step. But when something, the Bournemouth racer dropped additional away from the leaders than ever.

Within the off season he spent a fortnight taking over the Dakar rally in Saudi Arabia… ‘A tough, laborious two weeks’. It will likely be attention-grabbing to see if a refocused and remotivated Hillier can have an improved 2nd season on the OMG R1. The 2019 Superstock race winner could be a darkish horse.

A supporting solid consists of 59 yr outdated ex moto-GP star, Jeremy McWilliams, Davo Johnson, Conor Cummins, Mike Browne, Jamie Coward, Michael Rutter, ex AMA star – Cory West, Pierre Yves Bian and Macau GP winner Erno Kostamo. Every and everybody of those guys will really feel disgruntled not be thought of amongst the favourites however it received’t be lengthy earlier than they get the possibility to show their value and battle for glory.

Jeremy McWilliams together with his Supersport mount for the 2023 NW200

After a solar kissed financial institution vacation weekend, the outlook exhibits every week of showers up forward. Maybe the notorious Irish climate will stage the sector and permit the likes of Michael Rutter to place one over on the new favourites.

2023 North West 200 Schedule

2023 NW200 Schedule
Tuesday ninth Could – Observe Schedule (9.15am to three.15pm)
Session CLass (Occasions are approx)
1st Newcomers Solely 0945
2nd Supersport 1030
third Superbike 1130
4th Supertwin 1230
fifth Superstock 1330
Thursday eleventh Could – Observe Schedule (9:15am To three.15pm)
1st Supertwin 0945
2nd Superstock 1045
third Supersport 1145
4th Superbike 1245
Thursday eleventh Could – Race Schedule (5pm To 9pm)
R1 Pressure Engineering Supersport Race (6 Laps) 1745
R2 Briggs Gear Superstock Race (6 Laps) 1830
R3 Milltown Service Station Supertwin Race (4 Laps) 1915
Saturday thirteenth Could – Race Schedule (9:15am To 9pm)
R1 Tides Restaurant Supersport Race (6 Laps) 1000
R2 Anchor Bar Superbike Race (6 Laps) /
R3 J.M Paterson Supertwin Race (4 Laps) /
R4 Cp Rent Superstock Race (6 Laps) /
R5 Merrow Resort And Spa Nw200 Superbike Race (6 Laps) /