The 2015 North West 200 was officially launched on Tuesday at Titanic Belfast with some of the ‘Usual Suspects’ on hand to mark the launch of the 85th year of the International Road Race which has witnessed many titanic battles of the glory of a race win round the 9 mile seaside triangle circuit.
With star names such as 21 times TT winner John McGuinness (now in his 25th year of racing – although he seems to have been around for longer!!) and the first man to hit 200 mph around the fast North Antrim Coast Circuit Michael Rutter (another rider over 40 years old and been around for as long as McGuinness – if not longer!!) headlining the starting lineup once again in 2015. The old guard are hoping to show the way home to the new up and coming stars who were also on hand on Tuesday both at the Press Launch and later on in the evening at the ‘Meet the Stars’ event which saw 1000 dedicated road race fans get up close and personal with many of the stars both new and old of the North West!!
For 2015 there will be a total prize fund of £70,000 up for grabs over eight races, which will be held over two days of racings. The first three races, the EventServ Supersport Race, the Vauxhall Supertwin Race and the Spidi Superstock Race (the first of three new race sponsors who have been brought on board by the Coleraine and District Motor Club) will be held on Thursday 14th May whilst the remaining five races (the second Supersport race with new sponsor for 2015 Bet McLean Race, the third of the new sponsors Monster Energy Superbike Race, the Anchor Complex Supertwin Race, the CP Hire Superstock Race and the grand final of the day the Vauxhall North West 200 Superbike Race will take place on Saturday 16th May.
As the opener of the big three International Road Race of the 2015 season boasts an exciting line up of new and old riders including McGuinness and Rutter who head the lineup along with last year’s Superbike winners the Dunlop brothers, William and Michael, last year’s fastest new comer Peter Hickman and with Dean Harrison jumping on board the Martrain machinery that was recently vacated by Alastair Seeley who has gone back to the TAS team where he has a number of successes round the triangle circuit. Unfortunately last year’s reigning Supertwin champion, Lee Johnston will not be defending his Supertwin crown in 2015, instead he’s concentrating on the large capacity machinery in a bid to prove that despite his small stature he can have big bike success, thus leaving the way open for the KMR duo of team boss Ryan Farquhar and ex GP rider Jeremy McWilliams to continue the teams domination of the Supertwin class.
The hugely successful ‘Meet the Stars’ event which is in its second year saw double the number of fans getting the chance to meet Seeley, McGuinness, William and Michael Dunlop, Peter Hickman, Michael Rutter, Maria Costello, Ryan Farquhar, Dean Harrison, Jeremy McWilliams and Lee Johnston, who entertained the crowd with tales of previous years and a very comic version of A Question of Sport – The McGuinness team where the winners here win Rutter was let down slightly by a certain member of his team not knowing what an anagram is (and even worse for Rutter him not even knowing his own name in an anagram!!) Who says motorbike riders aren’t smart!!