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Offline golfsharpy12

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NW200 - 2018 15-19 May 18
« on: 21 September, 2017, 02:17:45 PM »
Just to say dates for the 2018 NW 200 were announced yesterday - if you haven't been before its well worth a trip - awesome racing and brilliant hospitality and roads to explore.  The A2 has got to be one of the top 10 biking roads in the world.


Apologies for repeating this updated posting that I have made in previous years, but it might be useful for those who might wish to attend the NW 200 in 2018 for the first time - apologies for any inaccuracies but it represents my views and opinions and as my better half frequently reminds me -  even when I'm right - I'm often wrong  :164:.    If you do go its an awesome experience (Lew thinks the Ulster is better but both have their merits and demerits - I think the NW is better) but then so is any NI road race and all are better than the TT IMO - plus the added bonus is proper Guinness.   :046:

NW 200:
The race schedule is at http://northwest200.org/practice-race-schedule/
Tuesday & Thursday are practice days and on the Thurs evening they have a 3 race programme (Supersport, Supertwin and Superstock) with main race day on the Sat.    On the practice days use the chance to visit the different parts of the Circuit and good vantage points to watch are: the 'chicane' near Mathers Cross-there is an excellent viewing point at the exit of the chicane where you can see the bikes entering, going through and leaving the chicane - whilst a short walk up the road takes you to a hotel with a slip road where you get the perspective of them leaving on full throttle.  Also good places to get to are Ballysally (the magic) roundabout, Station (the fastest so far through here was 210 but most superbikes touch 190-200 on the way down here) and Metropole corner and York Corner.  The advantage of all these is that you can move to another point on the circuit if you wish to move vantage points as you are on the outside of the circuit.  But on race day, forget it, you will struggle to find a good viewing point with the mass of people that attends it!!! Also anywhere on the Coast road - Black Hill and Juniper are good but you are then locked in to the circuit and cannot move even on practice days.   See locats at http://northwest200.org/circuit-map-vantage-points/
For race day, I would recommend one of the seats in the main grandstand on the startline side A4 as first preference or A5 then A3 - A4 is the prime point  (you can purchase tickets and get more info here: http://northwest200.org/grandstands/ Your seat is guaranteed and you will not miss any of the action on the big screens that are set up for the event. The heli coverage is brilliant.
If you also need to access the paddock to be able to get to either of the two paddock grandstands (but I think these are not as good as the start line - and this is an extra £12 on the Saturday!! I think you can pre-purchase grandstand tickets, paddock access and even a NW200 program of events - as a package - all on the above website!  The other advantage is that (at least last year) you can gain access to any of the grandstands on the Thurs night racing with your ticket so if you wish to watch at Metropole or York it again gives you a different perspective. 

However, as with all events in Northern Ireland, there is one very big IF...... and that is the weather - it will either make your day - or destroy your day (bit like the TT then!!!!!).
As you are on the coast, it is always exposed to wind, so I tend to keep biking gear on as it keeps things warmer but I hope you will get good enough weather to enjoy it all.

Oh, and one last thing -  if you are rushing to get a boat home, make sure you park somewhere with an easy escape route as the traffic is absolutely hectic with 100,000 people all heading home at the same time!

As to places to stay - all are generally good and the Guinness is brill.  Ballymoney, near Joey's pub is good with lots of folks around and McGuinness and co do tend to drop in for a pint so it can be a chance to meet the riders - also worth visiting the memorial to Joey and Rab.  Not a bad location  and only 12 miles from the circuit.  I hesitate to recommend a guest house as I stay at a friend's Guest house but its usually booked almost 2 years in advance but try the Ballymoney tourist office at https://www.discovernorthernireland.com/explore/search-results/?SearchTermIn=ballymoney they will try and find you a decent place to stay and are very helpful.

As to routes across I personally use the Holyhead - Dublin route and both Sealink and Irish Ferries provide a good service that use modern ferries using both high speed Cats (2 hrs) and conventional ferries (4 hrs)- also prefer Holyhead as we like the run down through Wales and use Dublin in preference to Rosslare as the route back to Rosslare is a pain in the proverbials and Dublin port is much easier to access.  I have tended to use Irish Ferries as they have a more frequent fast ferry service and the service on board is great - both firms charge around £110 return for bike and rider.  However, we tend to always book the club lounge as its only £16 extra and you can eat your own body weight in sandwiches and fresh fruit.   For those that live a bit further North, you can take the Birkenhead/Belfast route , Fleetwood/Larne, Troon/Larne ,Cairnryan/Larne or Cairnryan/Belfast which are all shorter crossings and considerably cheaper.  One rider I know got a deal a couple of years ago with P&O on the Cairnryan route 3 return crossings for £180 that was a saving of £60.00, so did the Cookstown 100, the NW200 and the UGP week.  Similar deals should be around this year: try  and get to the TT and back again for that kind of money :038:

On the way up make sure you ride the A2 at least once - from Larne to Portrush - it is one of the best and most beautiful biking routes in the world. Also Armoy is only 8 miles from Ballymoney and worth the trip to ride the Armoy Circuit and see Joeys memorial (smaller than the one on Ballymoney).

Oh and the Racing - is simply brilliant  http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/northern-ireland/27453410  and had those present at the event totally gripped - hopefully 2018 will be Safe Fast and Fun with good weather.  For those going enjoy   :031:
Rgds Steve

 


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