Seventh for John McGuinness MBE in the opening NW200 Superstock race

Race Report
Changeable conditions throughout this year's fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200 event meant that Honda Racing UK riders John McGuinness MBE and Nathan Harrison relied on their opening session times of the event to qualify. John lapped the ‘Triangle course’ aboard his Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP in 4:30.499 to place 9th for the opening Superstock race of the event, while Nathan set a best time of 4:33.772 to line up 11th on the grid. 

Aboard their respective Superbike specification Fireblades, John set a personal best lap time of 4:28.846 to qualify in 10th for the Saturday races whilst Nathan lapped the 8.9-mile course in 4:31.491 to qualify in 14th. 

The Briggs Equipment Superstock race took place in setting sunshine on Thursday evening and both riders struggled to get off the line cleanly and lost positions at the start of the race. However, as the laps progressed both riders found themselves nose to tail on the high-speed circuit in a four-way battle for fifth position with John tucked in just behind his younger teammate. The two were lapping at very similar speeds and Nathan was running in 6th position closing in on 5th come the end of the fourth lap. 

Unfortunately on lap 5 of the race, Nathan was involved in an incident at Dhu Varren which resulted in a red flag. He was taken to Coleraine Hospital and has a broken right collarbone and a broken radius in his left wrist. He will remain in the hospital overnight.

John McGuinness ended the race in seventh and will race again in Saturday’s three scheduled races; the Anchor Bar Superbike; CP Hire Superstock & Merrow Hotel and Spa NW200 Superbike races. 

Fellow Honda Fireblade runners Davey Todd (Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles) and Michael Dunlop (MD Racing) both finished on the podium of the opening Superstock race in second and third. Earlier in the day Davey Todd was also able to secure his first win of the event in the Strain Engineering Supersport Race aboard his Honda CBR600RR.

#1 John McGuinness MBE

At the end of the day that was a solid top-ten result, battling for fifth with some really good peddlers, experienced riders like Michael and James, and I enjoyed it. I would’ve liked to have been closer to the front but honestly hand on heart, I don't think we had the pace of the leaders. But to get a race in the bag on a Thursday night, after a scrappy day when everyone is tired, I’m happy to get it done safely and sleep on it tonight. Then we can get stuck into the program again on Saturday with a few changes here and there. 

The disappointing bit of the day is my little mate Lee Johnston has hurt himself so get well soon pal. And my teammate has given himself a knock so I want to wish him a speedy recovery too. 
Superstock race 1 - 7th

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