Oil Spillage Causes North West 200 Cancellation

Today's Relentless International North West 200 was cancelled after just a single race after a series of incidents brought the racing to a halt.

In wet conditions, Alastair Seeley took victory in the Supersport race that opened the day, beating Cameron Donald in a thrilling battle, but that would be the last action that the spectators would see.

The first problem came in the unusual form of a bomb threat, which later proved to be a hoax. With safety paramount, the paddock was evacuated on the advice of police which initially delayed the start of the Superbike race until 1pm.

With more heavy rain falling, it wasn't until 2pm that the race got underway, and pole sitter Michael Rutter was one of several riders that opted to withdraw for safety reasons. The riders that did brave the conditions hadn't even completed the first lap before the action was suspended again.

As the riders approached the section of the circuit where the railway line crosses over the road, smoke started to pour from the KMR Kawasaki of Ryan Farquhar, spilling oil over the already sodden track all the way to the Juniper Hill chicane.

The red flags were immediately shown and the riders returned to the grid to allow the marshals to clean the track up. At around 3:30pm, it seemed the racing would restart as the riders were sent on two exploratory laps, but it became immediately apparent when they returned that the circuit was still dangerous to race on.

With the roads due to reopen to the public later in the evening, time was quickly running out for a resumption, and a meeting soon commenced between the experienced riders and event organisers.

At around 5:15pm, North West 200 technical director Mervyn Whyte took the decision to cancel the event with the best efforts to clean the track up proving unsuccessful. The thousands of supporters who had stuck around in the miserable conditions made their way home having only seen five laps of action, but with conditions unsafe, the decision was surely the correct one.

  • Such a shame the racing was cancelled, was looking forward to the races… guess we still have the TT to look forward to though!

  • Dohertymalcolm221

    Yea everyone was looking forward to seeing the superbikes doing battle, but where i was standing watching the boys doing their sighting lap there was going to be a serious accident, and mervyn and his team took the right decision, no one wants to see any rider get hurt or worse, so we wait for next year and the team will put the show back on the road again.. 

  • From the pictures I’ve seen I can totally understand the decision taken and as you say nobody wants to see any accidents.can make it over next year! :)

  • Rocky Dog

    Pity for all the effort that went in but the right decision in the circumstances.   Bad weather and apalling luck.   I got soaked to the skin in the grandstands and again on the ride there from Bristol but will be back next year.  It is a great event and spectacle. 

  • Mandy

    I was in the grandstand patiently waiting in the pouring rain for at least some sort of “yes” or “no” as to the continuation of the race ; of course safety is paramount and the right decision to cancel was made but just felt more information should have been made available as the time it took was a bit much especially in light of Guy Martin saying he would race (after the oil of course had been cleaned up). Merv White did have a very hard decision to make but it could have been made sooner than it was but i will go again next year as in the 12 years i,ve been going this has never happened before.