John McGuinness battles for points in rain-hit North West 200 road races


Lexelle-sponsored John McGuinness scored two top seven finishes at the International North West 200 road races this week but poor weather conditions saw almost all of Saturday’s schedule abandoned.

Torrential rain meant it wasn’t safe for racing to take place leaving everyone connected with the event frustrated and disappointed.

Tuesday’s first qualifying sessions saw the best weather and John was well to the fore in the Supersport category where he took pole position on the HM Plant/Padgetts Honda.

Thursday’s races were made tricky by the wet conditions but a superb start to the five-lap Supersport race saw John grab an early lead, although by the end of the first lap he’d been pushed back down to fifth.

As the race wore on, it was clear the riders on intermediate tyres were in better shape than those, like John, on full wets but he was able to bring the bike home in a solid seventh.

A day of sun and cloudless skies on Friday was replaced by torrential rain on Saturday’s feature race day and the second Supersport race was stopped after three laps before the racing had to be abandoned completely with four races being lost.

Despite the treacherous conditions, John put in another solid ride in his only outing and was rewarded with sixth place.

Speaking afterwards, John said: “There was four to five inches of water through the Juniper Chicane section on Saturday and it was like a swimming pool so it simply wasn’t possible for the racing to continue.

As fast as the water was being cleared it was re-forming and it’s just such a shame for everyone involved in the event. We all love coming here and we all love riding but safety has to come first at all times, it’s just so frustrating when the non-race day saw such fine weather.

On the plus side, we did get to complete three races and the bikes were working really well in practice and I was happy with all of them.”

“I put the HM Plant/Padgetts Honda’s on the front row whilst the Honda TT Legends bike was also bang on the pace, I just pulled in a lap too soon otherwise I’m confident I’d have been higher up on the grid.

“Sadly, we didn’t get to race the Superbike and although conditions were far from ideal in either of the Supersport races, I did my very best and I’m satisfied with sixth and seventh.

“With the loss of Saturday’s races, we’ve missed out on some mileage before the TT but everyone’s in the same boat and I’m looking forward now to the Island. It’s a big event for all of us so let’s hope the weather’s kind and we all have some fast, safe racing.”

The first practice session for the Isle of Man TT Races, held on the world famous 37 and ¾ mile Mountain Course takes place on Monday May 27.