Road Racing: HM Plant Honda Heads To Northern Ireland For Legendary North West 200 Road Race
McGuinness and Plater look forward to the 2009 NW200
Hot on the heels of its participation in last weekend’s annual Thundersprint event in Northwich, the HM Plant Honda team today heads to Northern Ireland for this weekend’s legendary North West 200 road race, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary.
The HM Plant Honda team and riders John McGuinness and Steve Plater, have enjoyed previous success around the 9-mile ‘Triangle Circuit’, which runs between the towns of Portrush, Port Stewart and Coleraine. This year sees both riders competing in Saturday’s two Superbike and two Supersport races on Honda’s class-leading CBR1000RR Fireblade and CBR600RR respectively, with John McGuinness also competing in the 250cc race with the Padgetts Honda team.
John McGuinness (race #2)
“This will be my fourteenth appearance at the North West 200 and I’m still as excited about racing there as the first time I went! I’ve had a good start to the season in the British Superstock Championship and am feeling totally on form and competitive, so I’m really looking forward to getting on the HM Plant Honda bikes and racing on a road circuit again. As you can do up to five races I decided to also race in the 250cc class with Padgetts – I started out racing on 250s and won my first ever NW200 race on a Honda 250 back in 2000, so that’ll be good fun. The atmosphere is always incredible and every year the event seems to get more and more professional and popular. Now I’m just looking forward to getting out there on Tuesday night for the first practice session, being competitive, being safe and hopefully standing on the top step of the rostrum – I’ve got the hardware with the Honda bikes to achieve that so now it’s down to me!”
Steve Plater (race #1)
“I’ve got great memories and history at the North West 200 having won six races over my ten years of competing there and also, holding the lap record in both the Supersport and Superbike classes. I’ve won the main Superbike race for the last three years so I’m obviously desperate to win that again this year – even more so as it’s the 80th anniversary of the NW200 event and also Honda’s 50th anniversary of world championship racing. The forecast towards the end of the week isn’t looking great so we’re praying for some good weather for Saturday, not just for the racing but also for the hoards of spectators who make the NW200 such a great event.”
Havier Beltran, HM Plant Honda Team Manager
“Both John and Steve have got good history and form at the North West 200 and we’re looking to build on that this year. They both love racing there as the competitive racing coupled with the electric atmosphere make it an incredible event all round. The weather forecast for Thursday’s practice session doesn’t look too good so we’ll be looking to put more emphasis on Tuesday evening’s practice. The riders are on form, the Fireblade and CBR600RR bikes are running very well and we’re continuing our successful partnership with Dunlop for our road races in 2009. With this package, we we’re hopeful for some good results and adding to the riders’ and HM Plant Honda’s successes at the NW200, as well as using this race as good preparation for the Isle of Man TT next month.”
Over the course of its history, the NW200 has become one of the sport’s biggest attractions and Ireland’s largest outdoor sporting event, attracting crowds in excess of 150,000 as well as the biggest names in motorcycle sport. Practice sessions at the North West 200 commence on the evening of Tuesday 12 May and continue on Thursday evening, during the NW200 ‘Festival Week’. All races take place on Saturday 16 May and can be followed across BBC TV, radio and online outlets.