With the North West 200 Race Week hot on our heels, we’re becoming more motorbike obsessed by the day at Abbey HQ! Not only is the NW200 Ireland’s biggest outdoor sporting event, but it is also based from one of Northern Ireland’s most stunning locations – the famous North Coast.
1. ) The top speed a superbike racer has managed to hit at the NW200 is a mind-blowing 209mph. It happened in 2016, when Honda’s Bruce Anstey was clocked in the speed trap at the record high. By comparison, the average speed is approx. 120mph!
2.) Over 150,000 people are expected to visit the North Coast to catch a glimpse of this year’s NW200, travelling from all over the world. But that’s just a fraction of the amount of people predicted to tune in – it’s estimated that the NW200 will attract over two million viewers on TV and online!
3.) The very first NW200 took place 89 years ago in 1929, and the race has been held almost every year since. If it has ever been cancelled, it has been due to a lack of necessary resources, politics, war or health reasons.
4.) Carrickfergus man and professional rider, Alastair Seeley, has accumulated the most NW200 wins in history, topping the charts with an impressive 21 first-place trophies since his first in 2008. He is followed by Robert Dunlop (15), Michael Rutter (14), and Robert’s brother, Joey Dunlop (13).
5.) The name ‘North West 200’ originates from the originally intended location – the North West of Ireland. However after one year the race moved to Portstewart, where it has been ever since. The ‘200’ refers to the length of the race, which is 200 miles.
6.) In 2008, NW200 icon Robert Dunlop crashed in practice and lost his life. His son, Michael Dunlop, went on to compete two days later – winning the 250cc race in his father’s memory.
7.) The NW200 course is known as ‘The Triangle’ and is one of the fastest in the world. It includes the towns of Portstewart (where it begins), Coleraine, and Portrush, and is run along public roads with certain street signs removed and electric poles wrapped in hay bales for safety reasons.
8.) Motorbiking runs in the family and the only fathers and sons to win NW200 races are Tony Rutter and son Michael Rutter, and Robert Dunlop, and sons William and Michael Dunlop.
9.) Only one Isle of Man rider has ever won a race at the NW200 – Nigel Beattie. He won the 250cc race in 2006.
10.) The NW200 isn’t just about bike racing – the race week hosts a huge amount of exciting activity to suit the entire family. There are vintage bike and car runs, fireworks displays, chances to meet the riders, live music and even a free outdoor concert!
The NW200 Race Week takes place from May 13th – 19th. Please see a schedule outline below:
Tuesday 15th May Practice
9.15am – 3.00pm
Thursday 17th May Practice
9.15am – 3.00pm
Thursday 17th May Evening Racing
5.00pm – 9.00pm
Saturday 19th May Race Day
9.15am – 7.00pm
Abbey Insurance Brokers
If you are a motorbike enthusiast and are passionate about securing the best protection for your bike, give one of our expert motorbike insurance advisors a call on 028 9332 5902.