I visited Northern Island with my friend Glen Irven to watch the motorcycle road racing event known as the North West 200.
We left Guernsey for the long ride up of around 330 miles. I took my KTM 990, a great bike for the trip, comfortable for long distance and plenty of power. Glen took his 250cc scooter which……. is red!
The journey up was not fun to say the least, rain, rain and more rain but we were looking forward to the week so it didn’t dampen our spirits too much. We took the overnight ferry to Dublin (big shout to Stenna Line who have a fantastic boat) and rode up from early morning (more rain).
On arriving at our guest house the lovely land lady greeted us with “you’re not due until tomorrow” whoops….. Luckily there were a couple of rooms spare! If anyone is visiting the area we’d very much recommend the Country Garden House
The practice for the racing started on Tuesday, we scouted the area and settled on Black Hill, a great spot for watching with riders cresting the hill at over 120mph!
This will make the next picture look even more incredible, it’s difficult to give the sense of speed with a still image so the video will give you some idea.
This is William Dunlop (No6) coming over the hill at around 120mph and he’s taken his hand off the bars and turned round to check on Guy Martin behind him!
We had a great spot at Black Hill and as you can see it wasn’t long until the media came along (sure sign it’s a good spot) and camped out around us!
There is so much going on during the week, we saw a sign for some grasstrack racing which involved hundreds of loons hooning around a field! Gotta love the Irish, if they want a track, they close the roads and if they want to off road they use a field! Can’t argue. There were quite a few classes of bike from modern 4 strokes, quads, mini bikes and a vintage class full of lovely two stroke bikes!
Ireland had many areas of great natural beauty including the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle and the Dark Hedges which are some unusually shaped trees which appear in films from time to time. When we went to the Causeway there was a photographer taking a picture of a lorry for a Scania calendar!
Joey’s bar was visited often, we had to make sure we paid our respects to the great man Joey’s Honda RC45 hangs from the ceiling and another bike is in a glass case in the back bar. A very friendly place and well worth a visit.
The fastest speed recorded in race week was just over 200mph, the main superbike race on the Saturday was wet and the riders only managed 190!!!! Many complained of the rear wheel spinning at this speed…….. Just let that sink in for a minute….
All in all we had a great week, lots of biking, sightseeing, paying homage to Joey Dunlop in his bar (many times), riding and socialising.
Norther Island is well worth a visit.