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May 17, 2014

Michael Dunlop Wins Feature Superbike Race At The North West 200

Michael Dunlop (8) won the Superstock race and the feature Superbike race on his BMW Motorrad/Hawk Racing S1000RR Saturday in Northern Ireland.

Michael Dunlop and BMW Motorrad UK celebrate historic double victory at record-breaking North West 200.

Northern Irish racer Michael Dunlop has delivered incredible results on his international racing debut on the BMW S 1000 RR, taking victories in the second Superstock race and the main feature Superbike race. Dunlop’s tally from the weekend also includes two pole positions, two podium finishes, two lap records and the prestigious ‘Robert Dunlop Man of the Meeting' trophy, named in honour of his renowned racer father.

Despite having never ridden his BMW Motorrad / Hawk Racing Superbike ahead of this weekend’s racing at the North West 200, Dunlop quickly got to grips with the fearsome BMW S 1000 RR, going on to secure pole positions in both the Superstock and Superbike classes, shattering the Superbike lap record along the way.

Dunlop’s weekend was action-packed, with the Ballymoney rider securing a podium finish in the first Superstock race, just behind Alastair Seeley and Michael Rutter. The first of two Superbike races this morning treated the hundreds of thousands watching in person and on TV worldwide to an amazing battle between Michael and his brother William Dunlop, which saw Michael finish second behind his sibling in a thrilling wet race which went down to the wire.

From there, Michael Dunlop improved yet further, delivering a blistering ride to the front of the pack in the second Superstock race - which was cut short and red flagged on lap four due to a crash. Michael was leading for two laps and was further extending his lead when this happened, but the decision from race control gave him his first victory of the weekend even earlier. The result was the first BMW-powered Superstock win at the North West 200 since Keith Amor’s victory in 2010.

The highlight of the entire weekend came in the blue-riband final Superbike race, the culmination of the week’s racing action at the legendary road racing circuit. Dunlop broke the race lap record on his way to the front of the pack, shaking off competition and challenges from hugely experienced riders including Guy Martin, Josh Brookes and Alastair Seeley, winning with a huge three-second lead in front of a delighted and roaring crowd who cheered him on as he took a home victory for the second time today.

All these achievements were more than enough to secure Dunlop the prestigious ‘Robert Dunlop Man of the Meeting' trophy, awarded to a rider who goes above and beyond the expectations of the fans and organisers and personifies the spirit of the North West 200 event.

Following this stunning international road racing debut, the team are now preparing for the Isle of Man TT where Michael Dunlop and the BMW S 1000 RR will once again be looking to break records and add a new chapter to the history books, as 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of BMW Motorrad's victory at the TT with Georg Meier in 1939.

See the full breakdown of results and timings from the North West 200 by clicking here.

Michael Dunlop & BMW Motorrad Hawk Racing results at the 2014 Vauxhall North West 200:

Winner - Superbike Race Two (BMW S 1000 RR)

Winner - Superstock Race Two (BMW S 1000 RR)

Second – Superbike Race One (BMW S 1000 RR)

Third – Superstock Race One (BMW S 1000 RR)

'Robert Dunlop Man of the Meeting' Award

Pole Position – Superstock Race One

Pole Position – Superbike Race One

Lap Record – Superbike (practice/qualifying)

“I knew I could do it! In my head I was thinking "alright, let's have it lads". The BMW is just beautiful to ride, it's class and I love it. These are brand new bikes, I only saw the Superbike for the first time this Tuesday! The bike is fantastic, the Metzeler tyres were working a dream at the end of that race and we were right on the pace off the line.

I'm so happy to have won two races - the main Superbike race was the one to win. Getting the 'Robert Dunlop Man of the Meeting' award is the icing on the cake. At the back of my mind I was thinking "it's my dad's trophy, I want that, I want it!" - and I got it. I can't say enough good stuff about the motorbike and the team.” - Michael Dunlop.

"For our first run out, at an international road racing event, you could say we exceeded our expectations! Michael took wins in both Superbike and Superstock and a pole position in both to boot. He was very close to securing the double in the two classes, too.

It was an absolutely brilliant result for the team, everyone performed so well. Michael rode the wheels off those bikes and it was fantastic to watch. It’s a hugely significant weekend for Michael, for BMW Motorrad and for the team." - Stuart Hicken, BMW Motorrad / Hawk Racing Team Manager.

"This has been a fantastic weekend for BMW Motorrad. Having so many BMW S 1000 RRs at the front in Superstock and Superbikes, not to mention 18 of 55 superbikes being RRs, shows just how competitive BMW Motorrad has become in road racing. Michael Dunlop rode incredibly well this weekend; he's confident, he's battled through the most challenging weather conditions imaginable and he came through a winner.

A big thank-you to Bertie Hauser and Kurt Böck from BMW Motorrad Motorsport for supporting us in taking the S 1000 RR into road racing and showing the world just how capable it is." - Lee Nicholls, Marketing Manager for BMW Motorrad UK.

More, from a press release issued by Honda Racing:

Cummins on the NW200 podium on Honda Racing debut

Conor Cummins made his competitive debut for Honda Racing at the North West 200 today, securing a podium finish and a sixth place in the two Superbike races aboard his 2014 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine.

The first Superbike outing was shortened from seven to five laps after heavy rainfall left the 8.9-mile Triangle circuit in difficult conditions. The race began just before 1pm with Cummins getting off to a good start and fighting his way into second place by the end of the second lap.

An attack from Michael Dunlop on the penultimate lap saw the Manxman drop back to third place, where he held fast until the chequered flag to take his third-ever North West 200 podium and his second of the day, having placed second in the earlier Supersport race. William Dunlop took the win with Michael Dunlop in second place.

Race two was also shortened to five laps and went ahead at 5pm on a drying track. Cummins put in another solid performance, eventually settling for sixth place and rounding off his Honda Racing debut in satisfying style. The race was won by Michael Dunlop with Josh Brookes in second and Alastair Seeley in third.

John McGuinness struggled today as the broken scaphoid he sustained two months ago continues to heal. The six-time North West 200 winner was unable to finish either of the two Superbike races, pulling in to the pits on the final lap of both.

The Honda Racing team will now turn its attention to the Isle of Man TT, which begins on Monday 26 May.

Neil Tuxworth team manager

It’s been difficult for John due to his injury and the fact that he’s had very little time on the bike. This circuit is particularly hard on his wrist as you have to break heavily seven or eight times. I think it will be a little easier for him at the TT after two more weeks of recuperation. On the other side, Conor has had a fantastic day and he’s performing just as I expected. I think he’ll be one of the top contenders at this year’s TT without a doubt.

John McGuinness DNF DNF

I’m not going to lie, today has been one of the toughest days I’ve ever had in racing. My wrist injury has made things very difficult around this circuit and it was almost impossible for me to push, particularly in the conditions we had today. I just have to put this behind me and look ahead to the TT. I’ve got another week or so of recovery and physio time so let’s hope I can improve things before we head there.

Conor Cummins 3rd 6th

It’s been a good day at the office for me. If someone has told me last night that I could have a third and a sixth today, I’ve have taken that without hesitation. The weather played a big role today and it’s been tricky racing but I’m happy. I just wanted to get that last race done and now I’m in a really positive frame of mind to head to the TT. All in all, it’s been a great day.

More, from a press release issued by Quattro Plant Kawasaki:

Mixed week in Ireland for Hillier

James Hillier and the Quattro Plant Kawasaki team endured a mixed week of racing at the International North West 200 road races with a few, small problems hindering them during the five-day festival but the Hampshire rider ended Saturday’s main race day in a positive frame of mind as he now looks forward to the Isle of Man TT.

With three races on Thursday evening around the 8.9-mile public road circuit and five more on Saturday, it was an incredibly hectic schedule both on and off the track but Thursday saw superb conditions across Northern Ireland and the highlight was a strong fourth place in the Lightweight race, where James was having his first outing of the year on the 650cc ER6 Kawasaki.

He also scored two top fifteen finishes in the Supersport and Superstock races and had high hopes of improving further on Saturday’s feature race day but with constant rain showers affecting the north coast, it was a day when tyre choice would, more often than not, be the deciding factor.

Conditions improved as the day wore on and the final two races of the day, the second Superstock and feature NW200 Superbike races, gave James the best results with eighth and ninth places respectively the outcome. He also posted another solid finish on the Supertwin to get more good mileage under his belt as he looks to defend his Lightweight TT title in two week’s time.

James Hillier: “It’s been a frustrating few days as we’ve suffered a few, niggling little issues with all of the bikes whilst it took me a while to get up to speed again but we can take a lot of positives away with us and with the problems ironed out it’s all been worthwhile. The Superbike gave us the least problems and I’m really happy with how it’s performing so it was nice to end with a good top ten finish.”

“The mixed weather on Saturday didn’t help anyone and I didn’t get the results I’d have liked as it was always difficult to know what tyres to go with. Some parts of the circuit were dry, some wet and some in between, which is the worst possible combination but we scored some good top ten results over the course of the week and have put ourselves in a good position for the TT.”

Hillier and the team now head to the Isle of Man TT Races with practice on the Mountain Course getting underway on Saturday 24th May.

More, from a press release issued by Smiths Triumph Racing Team:

North West 200 Podium For Smiths Triumph

The Gloucester-based Smiths Triumph Racing Team enjoyed a strong debut showing at the Vauxhall International North West 200 road races this week with a superb podium from Gary Johnson in the second Supersport race earlier today, the undoubted highlight for the 2012 British Supersport champions.

The Brigg, Lincolnshire rider and team-mate Michael Rutter from Bridgnorth had spells at the front during both Thursday's and Saturday's six lap races on the 8.9 mile Causeway Coast track and whilst Johnson's dry rear and intermediate front tyres weren't the ideal option for today's wet race, he put together six consistent laps to claim a debut podium at the event for both the team and the Triumph Daytona 675R. A finish of seventh on Thursday evening could have been better still had he not been forced wide at York Corner on the final lap.

Meanwhile, 13 times North West 200 winner Rutter led for much of Thursday's race, which was held in sunny conditions, until the bike suddenly slowed on the penultimate lap heading towards the Mill Road roundabout. However, the Shropshire rider was able to get going again and bring the bike home for a solid sixth place. He then scored an identical result today to ensure the team took four finishes from their four starts.

Gary Johnson: "I couldn't be happier with how the week has gone or with how well the team has worked. Only one of the mechanics had ever been to a road race before but we've worked hard all week, ironing out a few little issues mainly with the electronics, and we've learnt so much. Josh Brookes put a hard move on me going into York Corner on Thursday which made it hard to come back from but that's racing, whilst I made the wrong tyre choice today. We've taken two good finishes though and both Michael and I are working really well together and I'm really excited about the TT."

Michael Rutter: "It's been a good, positive week as we've led races and shown good form throughout. It felt really good leading the race on Thursday evening but I'd been suffering a bit of a misfire and the bike cut out on me a couple of times which was a real shame as a podium was definitely on the cards. I made a mistake with the tyre choice for today's race but I got another top six finish and I'm really pleased with how well the bike's working so everything's looking really promising for the TT."

Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: "It's been a short, sharp learning curve for the team and everybody's worked really hard this week. We primarily came for a shakedown prior to the TT and we've found some things that will pay dividends over the next few weeks. The problems we encountered were something that we'd never have known if we hadn't have been racing but they've been rectified now and both of the riders are really happy. It was fantastic for Gary to finish on the podium and Michael posted two solid results whilst he's been a great ally this week as we've been able to fully utilise his organisation skills and experience from all his years here at the NW200. We're all really looking forward to the TT now where we aim to show what the bike's capable of."

The team now head to the Isle of Man TT races with practice getting underway on Saturday May 24th.

More, from a press release issued by John McGuinness' publicist:

Challenging NW200 meeting for McGuinness

Morecambe’s John McGuinness endured a challenging International North West 200 meeting this week as his injured wrist meant he was unable to perform at the level he wished. The Honda Racing rider struggled during the hectic, back-to-back qualifying sessions and, after opting out of Thursday evening’s races, all he had to show for his efforts on Saturday was a solitary 12th place finish.

Conditions were perfect in Northern Ireland during both Tuesday and Thursday’s qualifying sessions and John battled manfully throughout on his Superbike, Superstock and Supersport machines although the punishing, heavy braking points around the 8.9-mile course forced him to ice his right wrist between sessions. Nevertheless, he was able to qualify comfortably inside the top 15 in all three classes, ninth in the Supersport class on the Valvoline Racing/Padgetts Honda the best result.

However, he opted out of Thursday evening’s Superstock and Supersport races to rest the wrist in preparation for Saturday’s feature race day but the weather added further problems as the North coast was hit by frequent showers. He was forced to pull out of both the Superbike races but he dug deep in the second Supersport race to cross the line in 12th place.

With practice for the TT getting underway in less than ten day’s time, John will now be working hard on his fitness with intense physio planned as he looks to give himself the best possible chance of success on the Isle of Man.

John McGuinness: “It’s been a really tough few days and nothing like how I’d hoped. I knew it was going to be a big ask to run at the sharp end straightaway but I just wasn’t able to push as hard as I’d have liked and the situation’s worse here due to all the heavy braking points around the course. I’ve had a long time out of the saddle and the back-to-back practice sessions took their toll, which was why I decided to sit Thursday evening out to allow the wrist to recover in time for Saturday.”

“Race conditions on Saturday weren’t good for anyone with the circuit varying in how wet it was and it proved to be a really tough day. All I can do is put it behind me and focus all my efforts on getting in the best possible shape for the TT. It’s my main event of the year and I want to put on the best possible show I can so, rest assured, I’ll be working hard this next week and making sure I get plenty of physio to allow me to push hard throughout the fortnight.”

John’s first practice session for the Isle of Man TT is scheduled to be Monday 26th May

More, from a press release issued by RC Express Racing:

Harrison ends NW200 meeting with strong top eight finishes

Dean Harrison and the RC Express Racing team had an up and down few days of racing at the International North West 200 road races this week but the Bradford rider ensured the meeting ended on a high note with two top eight finishes in the Superstock and feature NW200 Superbike races.

With perfect conditions during qualifying and racing on Tuesday and Thursday, Saturday’s feature race day dawned overcast and by the time the racing got underway, showers around the 8.9-mile circuit had left the road surface extremely damp and tyre choice problematical. Nevertheless, the day started solidly for Dean as he posted an 11th place finish in the opening 5-lap Superbike race.

It was all upwards from there on and Dean and the Kawasaki ZX-10R took an excellent seventh place in the Superstock race, just four seconds adrift of the final podium position. With conditions improving all the time, and the course getting dryer and dryer all the time, Dean opted to continue with the Superstock machine for the final feature NW200 Superbike race. Battling throughout with fellow Kawasaki rider James Hillier, Dean edged away in the closing stages to take a fine eighth place, also posting his best ever lap of the circuit, 119.410mph, in the process.

The results more than made up for a disappointing Thursday evening when he was forced to retire from the Superstock race and crashed out at the Mill Road roundabout in the Supertwins race meaning both he and the team can head to the Isle of Man TT in confident mood.

Dean Harrison: “It all came together in the end and I’m pleased with how the day went on Saturday. Conditions weren’t the easiest but the Kawasaki and Metzeler tyres were working really well and the longer the races went, the more confident and comfortable I felt. I was a bit wary about going out on slicks in the final Superbike race so decided to take the Superstock bike out again and whilst slicks would have been absolutely fine, I can’t fault how the Stocker performed.”

“Thursday is best forgotten about but it was just a bit of bad luck and, overall, we’ve learnt a massive amount with all three bikes. I’ve got quicker and more confident with them as the week’s progressed and we’ve got a solid base to start from when we get to the Isle of Man next week.”

Ben Constable, Team Co-Owner: “The week started off slow for us but it ended really well and I’m proud of Dean’s efforts and professionalism throughout. He deserved the results on Saturday for everything he put in over the few days and the eighth place in the Superbike race, whilst riding the Superstock bike, was very impressive.”

“We had a few issues over the course of the few days, like a lot of other people did, but the good thing is that we resolved everything along the way and found some good settings which will stand us in good stead at the TT. Dean’s happy with all of the bikes whilst the team did a mega job all week, especially Danny and John, so we can’t wait now to get to the Island.”

Dean will be competing in all six solo races at the Isle of Man TT with the event taking place from 24 May-6 June.

More, from a press release issued by Tyco Suzuki:


17th May 2014

William Dunlop recorded his debut international Superbike victory at today’s North West 200 in stunning fashion, aboard his Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000. In difficult conditions Dunlop headed home his brother Michael after a bar-bashing last lap encounter by just half a second.

Dunlop was seventh in today’s Supersport race, which opened proceedings on the north coast, with his team-mate Guy Martin thirteenth in the wet conditions. Guy Martin was later fifth in the NW200 Superbike race and Dunlop eleventh.

William Dunlop:

“It was a difficult day for everyone with the conditions, but I’m delighted to take my first international Superbike win with Tyco Suzuki. I only saw Michael on that last lap when I looked over my shoulder and did think, ‘oh well that’s it’ but the team and myself have put in too much hard work just to give it away.

“He left me a gap into the Juniper chicane and wasn’t as strong as I expected to be on the brakes. I had to take the tight line into the chicane but we made it through and kept it strong to the line. I can’t thank the Tyco Suzuki team enough for their efforts so far this season. They have really given me first class attention. Now I’m looking forward to the TT more than ever.”

Guy Martin:

“It is what it is today and the conditions were tough for everyone. We got more miles on all the bikes prior to the TT and well done to William on a great Superbike win. Between us I think we proved both the little GSX-R600 and the Superbike are well up to the job. Let’s get to the Isle of Man now for the TT. That’s the bigger picture.”

Philip Neill – Team Manager:

“Overall we can be very happy with our efforts from this year’s North West 200. Our full range of GSX-R machinery ran faultlessly all week and credit must go to our team mechanics. It was absolutely fantastic to see William Dunlop achieve the success he deserves with his first international Superbike win. It was even sweeter to do it in front of our title sponsor Tyco Security Products and representatives from Suzuki GB – who have supported us faithfully for many years.

“Guy has also been impressive during this year’s event and although he didn’t quite find his very best form today, his second position in Thursday’s Supersport race was perhaps the best I’ve seen him ride at the North West 200. It was a superb result. Everything considered we are heading to the TT with a good reason to feel optimisitic about our chances for further success. Thanks to all out sponsors; I hope everyone enjoyed the day.”

Eventserv Superbike Race

Winner: William Dunlop [Tyco Suzuki] 24min 02.051sec; 2nd – Michael Dunlop [BMW] +0.520sec; 3rd – Conor Cummins [Honda] +16.137sec; 4th – Michael Rutter [BMW] +26.149sec; 5th – Ian Hutchinson [Yamaha] +28.048sec; 6th – Simon Andrews [BMW] +34.256sec