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North West 200 On-Board Lap
Lots of people are familiar with the Isle of Man TT races. The popular Irish road race that takes place along the 37.3-mile Snaefell Mountain Course is known for its high speeds, courageous riders and the fact that it’s held entirely on public roads.
Perhaps a more outrageous race is the North West 200. The precursor to the TT races, the NW 200 is another true road race normally conducted about a week before the first practice session of the TT, and is used as a tune-up race for many riders getting ready for the TT. What separates the two is the fact that the NW 200 is an actual road race, where each competitor starts at the same time. The TT is a time trial, where each competitor is released in ten second intervals. For a taste of how crazy the NW200 is, check out this video.
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There’s no denying the danger of the NW200 is immense, maybe even more so than the TT since the riders are actually competing for position throughout the course. So why am I posting this now? Because the North West 200 took place last weekend, but was ultimately called off after only one race. Intermittent rains postponed the day’s activities, though a break in the weather allowed the Supersport class to compete in the worst of conditions — a wet but drying racetrack. A gamble on tire selection ultimately paid off for Alastair Seeley as he won the race.
Not long after this race, the skies opened up again and postponed activities even further. The Superbikes eventually made their way on to the track with many of the top riders including Guy Martin and Michael Rutter opting to sit out due to safety reasons. And when those two guys sit out a race for safety reasons, you know it’s dicey out there. Still, the race commenced. It was short-lived however, as Ryan Farquhar’s Kawasaki ZX-10R had a mechanical failure that sprayed oil for over a mile down the course, prompting a red flag. With the combination of rain and oil on the track, the decision was ultimately made to call off the race as well as the rest of the day’s activities.
So look at that video again. Seem crazy to race the NW200 when it’s dry? Now imagine trying to race it in the wet.