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Trackside with McCallen

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NI Blogs Admin | 15:30 UK time, Saturday, 21 May 2011

Saturday morning started off badly for the North West 200. When I looked out the window my heart sank at the sight of the wet roads. But the crowds still turned up and Mervyn got the North West off to a superb start with a very exciting 600 race.

To be honest the way these boys were riding the wet didn’t seem to affect them. Alastair Seeley rode the wheels off his 600 Suzuki just to hold off Cameron Donald who was determined to become the first Australian to win at the North West. That was not his only reason for motivation because don’t forget Alastair Seeley’s team Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing just happens to be Cameron’s old team!

Thankfully, given the conditions the Supersport was a safe race with no major incidents.

With this race over and things looking good Mervyn had the Superbikes on the line and getting ready for the second race when disaster struck. For the first time in the history of the North West racing had to be delayed due to a bomb scare. This was a very unfortunate and unprecedented event as motor cycling has always been a cross-community sport in Northern Ireland.

Special praise and a big word of thanks goes to the Marshalls and all the officials who worked so efficiently to resolve the security situation and to all the fans for their cooperation. Meryvn once again had the Superbikes on the grid ready to start when another surprise occurred – the Ducatis of Michael Rutter and his team mate Martin Jessopp were taken from the grid due to their concern for high speed visibility with the spray.

The race actually got underway with a superb first lap during which Michael Dunlop was chasing Alastair Seeley hard when suddenly the race was red flagged. The reason for this was that oil was seeping from the back of Ryan Farquhar’s bike. Ryan did a superb job keeping his machine under control because he didn’t realise initially that oil was leaking from his bike.

Oil spill from the Superbike race

Oil spill from the Superbike race

Since the race was delayed the Marshalls have been working tirelessly to remove the oil from Church Bend to Jupiter, which is a big challenge because oil mixing with water spreads rapidly and leaves a big clean up operation.

It’s hard to predict anything on this day, but the latest word from the paddock is that the racing is back on and the Superbike race next up is reduced to four laps. For the sake of all the fans who have turned up in these conditions and everyone involved in the North West, I hope we can see some more action today.


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