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North West 200 - Part 1

The Vauxhall International Northwest 200 gets under way at one of the world's most famous motorcycle road race circuits. Presented by Stephen Watson.

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The north Atlantic coastline of Northern Ireland is a beautiful


sight. Miles and miles of stunning views, seaside towns, historical


ruins and world-famous landmarks like here at the Giants Causeway.


But in the month of May every year it's the roads that provide all the


entertainment and excitement. Normally open to the public, nine


miles are closed for motorcycle racing.


And this is a event like no other. This is the international North West


200. Road racing is one of Northern


Ireland's oldest sporting traditions. A glorious evening. They


have been racing here for over 80 years. On the straights and through


the countryside. At speeds of over 200 mph. Welcome to highlights of


this year 's international North West 200. One of Northern Ireland's


biggest and best sporting events. Many of the giants of motorcycle


road racing are here to provide some exciting, exhilarating


entertainment. Here are some of the contenders. Michael Dunlop, one of


the biggest crowd puller is in road racing. Martin Jessopp is a talented


Englishman who is in search of his first Northwest win.


After a year of injury, Lee Johnston is fit again and back to his best.


Dean Harrison has made a fast start to this season, he's looking for his


first North West podium. And Alistair Seeley, the master of the


circuit, he is the event record holder with 17 victories.


Alistair Seeley is in pole position for this, the first race of the


event, for Supersport machines. These talented riders will race


around this unique circuit which wind its way through the three towns


of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush. Slipstreaming on the


ultrafast straights is key and mastering the Coast Road section


vital. Who will be successful in this first race? I am joined by


Michael Laverty, is Alistair Seeley beatable? Does not look so today,


looks on top form but there is pedigree on this grid. You have got


the store words and then people like Ian Hutchinson, William Dunlop,


anyone could win, slipstream play such a part. Once they get into the


white, six laps, anything could happen. Michael Dunlop on the


Yamaha. He's been looking comfortable on the 600 and the rest


Superbike, he could definitely deliver. Once he gets in the mix and


gets the adrenaline pumping having him happen. Thank you, time to join


the commentary team, Steve Parish and Richard Nicholls. COMMENTATOR:


Time for the first race of the 2017 North West 200 international with


Alistair Seeley the favourite and an pole position at head of Lee Johnson


and Michael Dunlop. Martin Jessopp on the Triumph, Dean Harrison and


James Hillier on the second row. Lots of famous names. Perfect


practice conditions so everyone's bike is Dale Bennett, or so it


should be. Lee Johnson, Alistair Seeley getting squeezed out a little


bit. Lee Johnson got the start there. Going over the top of


Primrose Hill down towards York road. Martin Jessopp at the front by


quite a mile. They are trying to get it sorted out here, from this point


of view it looks like they have, Alistair Seeley squeezing up the


inside. Up to the roundabout, Guy Martin, started from the second


wave. Guy Martin back road racing but not having it all his own way,


he's been away quite a long time and not really used to be. The start on


board with James Cowton, look how busy it is. Bruce almost got his


handlebar tangled up. We are on board with Alistair Seeley. There


goes the new Yamaha, should be fast. But the Kawasaki going well. Martin


Jessopp out in the lead by some margin, going over the crest, that


was how they started, look where Alistair Seeley was, back in fourth.


Now in second place and closing I think. Lee Johnson in there. Oh my


goodness. Michael Dunlop isn't it? Alistair Seeley is going backwards,


he is right down, going backwards through the pack. Guy Martin leading


the second wave as you would expect from a rider of his stature. On


board with Dean Harrison, Alistair Seeley in front of us. Martin


Jessopp still out in front. Alistair Seeley not running at the pace we


would expect. It's not what we normally see from him. Nice


out-braking move, still on board with Alistair Seeley, church Corner,


getting his way through. Michael Dunlop in front of us. Alistair


Seeley trying everything he can, we would expect him to be at the front


but he's dropped into fourth place and there is Dean Harrison. They


have been struggling with that as they brushed shoulders, Martin


Jessopp is so committed to this. Yamaha leading the Triumph. In third


place... Year comes Seeley through the inside, Martin Jessopp did not


know he was there. Martin Dunlop squeezed out. It's still Hutchy that


leads. Trying so hard, cannot get past Hutchy, Seeley right in touch.


This is how they came over the top. Poetry in motion. Seeley, his bike


does not seem that fast at the moment but he still using the


slipstream, Michael Dunlop on the other Yamaha. He's pulled over, he's


got a problem, what a shame for him, starting on pole position. Martin


Jessopp from Ian Hutchinson, Dean Harrison hanging in there. Martin


Jessopp never won a North West 200 race. He's been there or thereabouts


so this would be something special. James Cowton having a quieter time


of it now. Harrison up the inside of Lee Johnson. Look at the focus on


Dean Harrison's face. The Triumph Daytona sounds beautiful, three


cylinder machine. What a special day this would be for Martin Jessopp on


the Triumph. Alistair Seeley not having the special day his band is


expected, coming here looking for a win number 18, 19 and beyond for


Alistair Seeley but it looks like Martin Jessopp distilling his


blunder, Alistair Seeley into the pit lane. Just started losing power,


braking down and coming in and braking down. I was contemplating


just pulling over because it's kind of dangerous around here to be


cutting out and in so I started short shifting thinking would clear


itself but it was getting worse. Had a good look and then it home. I


don't know what the problem is but it's unfortunate. He is hiding his


disappointment well, you know that will hurt him. Very much so, but it


is still the Yamaha of Hutchy, brand-new bike, they brought the old


one but the new one is going all right. Look at that. Having a good


look, Jessopp has dropped back into third place. There is going to be


some slipstreaming going on this time around. Dean Harrison right in


the mix behind Hutchy, Martin Jessopp still in it, Lee Johnson


fourth, it's not over yet. Michael Dunlop is there as well. Hutchy


leads them into another lap, has the bike come good? He has switched to


Dunlop tyres so he is readjusting his brain. Decided to move over to


the Dunlops, said it takes some sorting out with suspension and


needs all the suspension as you can see over the jumps and bumps here.


Looking on the brakes, Jessopp still good, four as they come through


here, Dean Harrison Kawasaki, or listen to the engine screaming,


about 15,000 rpm. Harrison out of the slipstream, Jessopp getting a


better tour from behind. Went for the inside. Who is going to give in?


Look at that, Jessopp getting peppered by the stones in the middle


of the track. Jessopp, look at that, the diminutive Lee Johnson coming


through, on the other side, look how close they are, these bikes doing


175 mph. I think Lee Johnson is loving it the most at the moment but


Martin Jessopp, that Triumph, it's got the edge. Seven of them all in a


bunch. Unreal, it looks like partridges as they hurtle down into


there. Lee Johnson has shuffled well down the order. Tremendous stuff.


Really is very special seeing them battling it out. On board with James


Cowton. Accelerating out. It is bumpy. Still Jessopp, Dean Harrison


and look down there. Look at them, swapping places like this is short


circuit racing, that is why you get the 600's out first and everyone is


entertained. Hutchy about to get mugged, Jessopp is clear, Hutchy


hangs onto second place. On board with Dean Harrison as we come up to


Church Corner, second gear corner. Jessopp has got this sorted, Hutchy


is not close enough through the chicane. Look at them, one, two,


three, four, five, that close. It is going to be Jessopp's first mend


mac. Coming through, Martin Jessopp on the Triumph going through, cannot


believe, how long ago was it Triumph won Horatio? Many years ago. We were


both youngsters but that is the confirmation.


Congratulations, your first North West 200 win? I'm lost for words a


bit, put in so much work, it's a family run team, me and my old man


and all my mates come along, whenever I want a result, we don't


have big sponsors so when we get a result I am so chuffed not for


myself but my boys, put in so much work every year for me and to play


them with a win, it's one of many hopefully.


Three English riders, first North West 200 podium. Could we get


another one? Michael looks as though he has come to race, it has been a


dry spell but he definitely looks as though he is at home, and has got


the fight back in the belly. Hopefully we can see him


challenging. The Northern Ireland title, two experienced guys, the


biggest challengers? Both Alistair Seeley and Hutchinson, have looked


experience, both of them racing week in week out, big fight with BMWs,


and Harrison would strong. It should be another cracker. Expecting a


cracker. Certainly. And Alistair Seeley, the lap record holder. Pole.


34. BMW. Row two... And make all Dunlop, as well as the man from


worked in Spain. It looks like the BMW first. Getting ready for the


start of the secondaries of the evening. The Northwest 200. The


board raised. Watch the lights. This is it. Unleashing about 200


horsepower. Alistair Seeley getting away. Rutter got the drop. Harrison


goes alongside Johnston. They know each other well. Going through


Primrose Hull. And what about the 45-year-old, having that new lease


of life. Leads out of the corner. Must have been having the porridge


at the hotel! William Dunlop has not had a happy week so far. Does not


look happy. Perfect conditions. The track temperature, 25 degrees.


Second wave away. Through station corner. 185mph. Just look at that.


Could not quite seafood that was. Slipstream at work. Everybody coming


past. And he has been passed by everybody. Absolutely. Alistair


Seeley, the wizard, but he has gone white. How lucky was that? The


pavement. Alistair Seeley has lost an enormous amount of time. I do not


know what happened. Cheeky recovery from the was. Going to be talking


about that and eight. It has cost him the chance possibly of 18th win.


Out the frame. An just looked at this. I am trying to work out, I


think he has missed a gear. When you do that, you do not have engine


break. Pavement there! That was perfect. I do not know if that was


rehearsed. Everybody has made a note of that. And Michael Dunlop, going


very deep. Extremely deep. I do not know what is going on. And Harrison,


number nine, on the outside. Very much. Back through again. Rutter,


11. Looking good in these lovely conversions this evening. And bang


in for seems reinvigorated. Absolutely bang in form. Key has


never not been competitive, he just tries not to let that shall in


public. But he desperately wants to win. That has not gone away. And


Johnston, you can see him coming out of that at fourth gear. What has


Alistair Seeley got up his sleeve? Difficult job to try to come


through. This is Dunlop, the Yamaha... Then machine that he has


borrowed back from last year. Going down to York Road corner, Sweeney


behind him. Johnston. Fine view. Rutter out in front. I think that


was a problem. That was more than slipstream. He was slowing.


Unfortunately, we saw that Suzuki, playing around with the suspension.


Alistair Seeley backed out in front. Rutter in trouble. Johnston chasing


Harrison. Rutter we think has pulled out. We saw Dunlop go. And these


three, battling for the podium. Alistair Seeley has got this nailed.


He has got some fast laps, back on board with Dunlop, going through the


chicane, trying to keep that front wheel on the ground. Just about 200


horsepower. Look at this. Alistair Seeley, has just pulled the pin.


Away. Absolutely. You do not see Alistair Seeley raiding weight that


often. -- riding like that. Could that be second place settled? I do


not think it is. Both of them, good mates. Hang out together. Doing that


here, at the Northwest 200. Going to be enjoying this. And Harrison,


number nine. But Alistair Seeley looks like use on his way. Lap times


down all the while. He has got the record but I am certain that he is


going to blast that. He is also the gap, blasting never mind managing


it. Perhaps losing some time, battling among themselves, Johnston


not looking too hard over the shoulder but dropping back. Yes.


Crowd in the sunshine. Alistair Seeley again, the wee wizard. Going


into that tight roundabout. Heads off. And looked at the style.


Underneath the screen, even when he has the bike leant over. Shifting


body weight. That was extremely well-behaved, compared to earlier.


On the gas here. You have got to be. These production bikes have got


better electronics than the super qui. They have got the downshift,


quick flippers, traction control and you can adjust how you want.


Hillier. Oh! Jamie squeezed out. I think Jamie outbreaked it. Lap


record blasted. Number 34, Alistair Seeley, taking that old record. And


Harrison has just taken his old mate, Johnston, in the slip stream.


You can almost see the shadow. How close was that? I can imagine


Harrison was looking across, smiling, having fun today. Just look


at this. Alistair Seeley pushing hard. That BMW, scrambling for some


grip. Flicks it through the chicane. Going to start the last lap, the


board going to tell them that he has about the seven second advantage.


Probably going to tell him just to back off, he can take things easy,


and bring it home safely. Johnston, second at the moment. Has that been


enough? We have got a lot more slipstreaming yet, to do. Starting


his last lap. Harrison, Barrington, going towards that kerb, Primrose


Hill. This is a good chance for the outbraking. Harrison, going to have


a stab at Johnston? Not really close enough. That is not going to happen.


It is going to the university, almost 200mph. Incredible. Very much


so. Shiels behind him? And at that moment, we saw at the slip road


earlier, York on the brakes there... Week of run a little deep there. All


right! It was just good from Shiels. And these two, still battling.


Harrison, close enough to get the slipstream, but some stability


issues there from the 34. The BMW. Throttle pinned. And on board with


Dunlop. You can hear that growl of the Yamaha. Camber drops. But


Alistair Seeley, going to have a big grin on his face. It has all come to


plan, even though he had that excursion on the pavement. It was an


extraordinary recovery, dating back to the front. He still had Rutter to


content with, but plenty of opportunities to find out on


Saturday. Win number 18 for the wee wizard! Fabulous. Just so good


around this socket. It must be the moralising for the other drivers.


Absolutely. Confirmation. Seeley wins by 12 seconds. Alistair, you


have extended the record number of wins, record-breaking fashion. It


does not get much better? I thought that was needed, and I have just


been told by the BMW boss we have got the record. Just add that Magic


roundabout, I had to pick the bike up, went after Rutter, Harrison. I


thought with the speed that I could catch them quickly, plus four,


seven, eight. And then I just told myself, do not do anything silly on


the last lap. It has been a sizzling start to the Northwest 200. And


another unstoppable win for Seeley? Absolutely dominant. To put that


lead in... Yes. Just looking so comfortable. The master. Six wins


under his belt now. Extended the podium record. Yes. Unbelievable.


Winner for ten years in a row. Even more true,? Absolutely. He looks


extremely on form. Put him on that super bike on Saturday, the record


is going to go for sure with weather like this. Definitely more to come.


The truth make it six. And we have got a lot more Northwest 200 action,


over the next few days. The next television specials, on Sunday


evening, BBC One, and the programme includes action from three more


races, including the super twin class, super bikes on the grid. Hour


long highlights on Monday, and all the shows are available on demand,


on that I play -- iplayer. Roads close tomorrow at 9:15. Massive


crowds expected. If you are going to be coming, come here early!


The Vauxhall International Northwest 200 gets under way at one of the world's most famous motorcycle road race circuits. This is the first of three programmes from the Causeway Coast, with highlights of racing from the opening night. Presented by Stephen Watson with commentary by Steve Parrish and Richard Nichols.