William Dunlop recorded his debut international Superbike victory at yesterday’s North West 200 in stunning fashion aboard his Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000.
In difficult conditions, Dunlop headed home his brother Michael by just half a second after a bar-bashing last lap encounter.
Dunlop was seventh in the opening Supersport race, which opened proceedings on the north coast of Northern Ireland, with team-mate Guy Martin 13th in the wet conditions. Martin was later fifth in the NW200 Superbike race with Dunlop 11th.
“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.”
“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 optimistic about our chances for further success. Thanks to all out sponsors; I hope everyone enjoyed the day.”
Superbike Race: 1 William Dunlop [Tyco Suzuki] 24min 02.051sec; 2 Michael Dunlop [BMW] +0.520sec; 3 Conor Cummins [Honda] +16.137sec; 4 Michael Rutter [BMW] +26.149sec; 5 Ian Hutchinson [Yamaha] +28.048sec; 6 Simon Andrews [BMW] +34.256sec.
More, from a press release issued by Mar-Train Racing:
MAR-TRAIN TAKE POSITIVES FROM NORTH WEST 200 AND TWO SEELEY TOP STEPS
Mar-Train Racing team owner Tim Martin said he would have been content to go home after Thursday night’s double win on the north coast with Alastair Seeley in the Supersport and Superstock classes, giving his team their first-ever victories at the International North West 200.
It was very much a tongue in cheek comment and delivered with a wry smile after a difficult day on Race Day Saturday at the North West 200 with all five races coming in tricky conditions.
Seeley’s crash at Metropole in the opening race of the day for Supersport machines, whilst challenging for the lead, forced the Carrick man to sit out Superbike race one to receive physio, but came back to a fighting fifth place in the Superstock race.
His most impressive performance was in the final NW200 Superbike race where he was battling at the front for the five-lap duration with eventual winner Michael Dunlop and Josh Brookes.
Taking into consideration that the bike he was riding was ‘wearing lights’ as team owner Tim Martin put it, just twelve hours previous – it really was an outstanding performance.
Alastair Seeley said of his North West: “We started off the week with two big wins on Thursday night, but that crash with Lee [Johnston] in Saturday’s Supersport race wasn’t what we were looking for. We did the sensible thing and sat out the next race, which was on the Superbike, but we have to be pleased with the podium in the North West 200 Superbike race. The whole team put in a big effort and we’ve come away with two wins, which if we’re honest – we’d have taken coming into the event. Our thoughts are with Simon Andrews who crashed in the Superstock race.”
Tim Martin – Team Principal:
“Taking everything into consideration I think that third place in the North West 200 Superbike race was the stand-out performance of the week. Especially if you factor in that Alastair wasn’t fully fit and we were forced to run a bike with a standard road going ZX10R engine. Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of having a shelf full of spare Superbike engines, but I’m pleased overall with what we’ve achieved. The team worked hard all week. It’s a very intense week for everyone and for the effort behind the scenes I have to give credit to all my team. To get those two wins on Thursday night was fantastic and if I’d known what would have happened on Saturday, I think I might have been happy to pack up on Thursday and go home content. But that’s racing and I think we put on a good display for all the fans."
Alastair Seeley won Thursday night’s Supersport and Superstock races. The Carrick man took a new lap record in the Supersport class with a speed 116.606mph.
Milwaukee Supersport Race: Fastest Lap Alastair Seeley [109.968mph]
The Mar-Train team now head to the Isle of Man TT, which gets underway this coming weekend with the opening practice sessions. Dean Harrison, who had a mixed week with the team at the North West, will ride his Mar-Train Racing R6 in both Supersport races: Race 1 is on Monday June 2 [10.44am start over 4 laps] with Race 2 on Wednesday June 4 [12pm start over 4 laps].
“It maybe wasn’t the idea North West for us but I’m now looking forward to getting to the Isle of Man and getting out on the Mar-Train Racing R6. I know the pedigree of the bike and the team and I think we can make amends on the Island in June.”
All of the Mar-Train Racing Team's thoughts and prayers go to Simon Andrews at this time after his accident in the Superstock race.
More, from a press release issued by Sixteen26 PR & Media on behalf of Milwaukee Yamaha:
JOSH BROOKES – NEW LAP RECORD HOLDER AT NORTH WEST 200 WITH MILWAUKEE YAMAHA
Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes heads to the 2014 Isle of Man TT Races as the new outright lap record holder at the Vauxhall International North West 200, following a stunning performance in the feature race at Saturday’s event in Northern Ireland.
The Australian had looked to be heading to his first International North West 200 victory in the shortened five-lap feature race, having lead for long periods in the opening four laps. But after slightly out-braking himself into the tight and blind Mather’s Cross chicane on the penultimate lap, the Bringelly man had to fight back from third place to eventually stand on the second rung of the podium.
His last lap effort of 4mins 22.627sec afforded the 31-year-old Australian an average lap speed of 122.958mph, making him the fastest rider ever around the current configuration of the ultra-fast 8.9-mile North West 200 circuit in Northern Ireland.
Despite a slight intermittent electrical problem, Brookes took a fine fourth place in the Milwaukee sponsored Supersport race on-board his Milwaukee Yamaha R6. Josh then took eighth place in the Eventserv Superbike race, having encounter grip problems throughout the wet race. But his NW200 Superbike podium and new lap record were the highlight of the weekend.
Josh recounted: “Overall I think it was a good North West for me. The podium on Thursday night in the Supersport race was a decent way to start the event and it showed me that I could be at the sharp end on Saturday. I also learnt a lot in that race, especially about the slipstreaming effect on the circuit, which is like nowhere else with those very long straights.
“On Saturday we had a stronger engine in for the Supersport race and I really thought we had a great chance. I gambled on dry tyres and when we set off it looked like it would possibly be just myself and Michael Rutter, who chose the same tyre set-up.
“But once it started raining I knew our chance had gone. The warm up laps were perfect but once we started racing I was struggling with what a felt like an intermittent electrical problem, probably caused by the rain, so fourth place was a decent enough result.
In the first Superbike race I just couldn’t find any grip to get the drive we need and that was quite frustrating, so I just rode my own race and brought the Milwaukee Yamaha home to a finish. I was really up for the last race and I think we proved, that both myself and the Milwaukee Yamaha Superbike were good enough for the win. It was annoying to just out-brake myself into the Mather’s chicane, which is so blind on the entry.
I probably just approached my braking marker that ten or fifteen mph faster after getting out of the roundabout much stronger, and with only about two feet of tarmac to make the entry well enough to get back around the left in the chicane – I had to pick the bike up and run over the grass.
The last lap taking the lap record showed that we had the speed, the bike and the set-up for the win, but that little error cost us a top step. But overall we have to be satisfied. I didn’t get that much track time last year, so I suppose it was like coming back as a rookie. I really enjoyed it and the Milwaukee Yamaha guys did a great job, so thanks to them for the effort. I’m off to the TT now on Wednesday to get prepared for the opening practice sessions and I can’t wait to get started. My thoughts are with Simon Andrews who crashed in the Superstock race. Let’s hope he makes a full recovery."
More, from a press release issued by Metzeler:
NORTH WEST 200 DOMINATED BY METZELER
Five victories from local riders Alastair Seeley, Michael and William Dunlop give METZELER impressive medal haul in the first International Road Race of 2014
Coleraine, Northern Ireland, May 19, 2014 – A succession of victories in wet, dry and mixed conditions gave METZELER an impressive five out of six wins in the main classes of a dramatic North West 200 event.
Local Northern Irish riders Alastair Seeley, Michael and William Dunlop took hard fought victories in the Supersport, Superstock and Superbike classes using treaded, slick and full wet tires from the manufacturer of German origin.
With the first races held on Thursday evening in the dry, METZELER had already logged both main feature races as Seeley won both the Supersport and Superstock classes for his Mar-Train Racing squad. His victory in Supersport was especially impressive as he came through from sixteenth after a first corner melee. The evening saw five out of six podium places equipped by the tire brand, with all riders using the road legal RACETEC™ RR tires to good effect.
Saturday’s first Supersport race started with wet but drying roads as riders had to make difficult decisions after two extra sighting laps. Some riders including Josh Brookes and Michael Rutter opted for lightly treaded ‘dry’ tires but Seeley choose to use a RACETEC™ Wet intermediate rear and full Rain front, a gamble which ultimately proved to be correct as part of the circuit remained wet. After a race long duel with Lee Johnston and Bruce Anstey, Seeley crashed out of the lead after a coming together on the final lap at Metropole. This crash put Seeley out of the next Superbike race and meant he was riding injured for the rest of the event.
The first Superbike event provided no such tire dilemma as more rain meant all riders used full wet tires and the race was also shortened to five laps (from seven). William Dunlop built up a solid five second lead on his Tyco Suzuki but his younger brother Michael gradually reeled him in, setting the stage for an epic last lap battle between these two Northern Irish riders. After a series of committed moves, William took his first Superbike victory at the event and made it a fantastic 1-2 for METZELER as Michael followed him across the line.
Saturday’s Superstock race again started damp but on a drying track that proved to again be an exciting affair. Gary Johnson ran onto the grass leaving the two Michael’s of Rutter and Dunlop to battle it out on their BMWS1000RR models. A red flag incident stopped the race giving Michael the win, his first on his new BMW machinery.
The final outing, the NW200 Superbike race was run on a dry track and was the first time the full RACETEC™ Slicks had been used during the races. Josh Brookes came through from the fourth row to lead from Seeley and Michael Dunlop but he ran on at Mathers Cross on the penultimate lap. Dunlop managed to ease away and despite the efforts of the two BSB men, he took a deserved win, cementing a fantastic day for BMW Motorrad UK, the Dunlop family and METZELER with another full podium of riders. Notably Seeley rode the race with road legal RACETEC™ RR tires front and rear to a podium position and broke the previous lap record before Brookes set an even faster time, with a new circuit record of 122.958mph.
The METZELER team now prepare for the Isle of Man TT Races pleased with the performances of their chosen riders and the tires themselves.
More, from a press release issued by KMR Kawasaki:
Ups and downs for KMR Kawasaki at NW200
This week's International North West 200 road races saw the SGS International/KMR Kawasaki team experience some ups and downs with solid results offset by a number of technical issues and bad luck.
The two 4-lap Supertwins races around the 8.9-mile circuit linking the towns of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush were always the team’s main target and the week couldn’t have started better with Keith Amor, team boss Ryan Farquhar and Connor Behan securing the top three positions in opening qualifying. However, whilst Amor ended up second quickest overall, a few problems in Thursday’s second session meant Jeremy McWilliams, Farquhar and Behan would start from sixth, seventh and ninth on the grid.
The evening’s race was held in perfect, sunny weather but Behan’s race was over before it had begun as another rider knocked into him at the first corner resulting him to crash out. The problems experienced in qualifying continued to affect Farquhar and McWilliams although they did salvage sixth and eighth so it was left to Amor to challenge for the race win. The Scot was looking good when he posted a new lap record of 108.644mph and started the final lap in second place and with a great chance of a win but a major engine problem forced him to retire at the Mill Road roundabout.
Saturday couldn't have been more different as rain and win hit the north coast of Northern Ireland and all four riders opted for different tyre combinations in the mixed conditions. Behan and Farquhar immediately slotted into first and second only for Behan to enter the Mather’s Cross chicane too hot and crash out leaving Farquhar in the lead. However, when the rain began to fall once more, his wet front tyre and dry rear were unable to cope and a few slides saw him slip back to fifth whilst Amor was an early retirement.
McWilliams was the best placed to deal with the wet surface as he had fitted full wets and a rostrum position looked on the cards as he moved up to second half way round the final lap. Sadly though, he got into Mather’s Cross too fast and whilst he was able to stay on board, he had to take to the grass and the resulting excursion saw his hopes disappear and he took the chequered flag in fourth place.
Behan did have some joy in the two Supersport races securing 17th and 21st with a personal best lap of 112.825mph.
Ryan Farquhar: “On the one hand, the week doesn’t look the greatest, but on the other there have been plenty of positives to take from it and everyone in the team have enjoyed themselves, which is our main aim. It couldn’t have started any better with a 1-2-3 in first qualifying but after that, we had a few, niggling little issues with a couple of the bikes which affected us in the first race. Keith was flying though and a new lap record showed what the combination’s capable of so it was a shame he was forced to retire with the engine failure, the first time that’s happened to one of the KMR twins.”
“It meant we had to pack up and head home on Friday to strip all the bikes and get to the bottom of the problems so it was a very fraught day. Jeremy had a faulty spark plug on his bike whilst the problem with mine was most probably the coil but with Keith on a spare bike we were all back on the grid on Saturday. The weather meant it was always going to come down to a choice in the tyres and when the rain came I had little choice to back off whilst there was also a lot of forceful riding going on out there. I gave as good as I got but it’s not how I like to ride and not how road racing should be so, hopefully, it was just a one-off. We all got home safe and it’s all systems go now to get everything prepared for the TT where we'll all be looking to have a good, enjoyable fortnight with some strong results taken along the way.”
Practice for the Isle of Man TT races gets underway on Saturday May 24th.