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North West 200 called off for second time in three years

'We've done a massive amount of work around the course with three road sweepers out there to try and clear the water but there's so much surface water that it was impossible to keep it clear' - Mervyn Whyte
The Vauxhall International North West 200 was called off this afternoon after one race as a result of heavy rain.

Prolonged downpours left the circuit blighted by standing surface water, leaving conditions unsuitable for racing.

It is the second time in three years that the famous road race has been called off.

In 2011, the meeting was cancelled as a result of inclement weather, an oil spill and a hoax bomb alert.

The only action today was a red-flagged Supersport race, which was stopped after two laps when four riders crashed without serious injury.

Michael Dunlop was later announced as the winner on his Honda from Bruce Anstey and Lee Johnston, with Alastair Seeley fourth on corrected time.

The result was declared based on positions at the end of lap two.

Thousands of spectators began to leave the circuit when it became apparent that there was little likelihood of racing continuing as the rain became worse.

Finally, event director Mervyn Whyte announced that the remaining four races had been abandoned due to the conditions.

The decision was taken following a final inspection of the 8.9-mile circuit with John McGuinness, Michael Rutter and Stuart Easton.

“The weather has beaten us today,” said Whyte.

“We had thought that we would get some racing in if things improved mid-afternoon but unfortunately that didn't happen.

“We've done a massive amount of work around the course with three road sweepers out there to try and clear the water but there's so much surface water that it was impossible to keep it clear.

“The forecast shows no ease up in the rain at all through until seven or eight o'clock tonight and I'm not prepared to take any chances at all because rider safety is the number one priority.”

Whyte hit out at the Northern Ireland Government and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board following the huge setback for the event and issued a plea for more funding and a flexible Road Closing Order.

“The Road Closing Order we have here doesn't allow things to change,” he said.

“If we had more flexibility then we could have closed the roads for three hours on Friday and had some racing because we knew Saturday would be bad.

“We got £70,000 from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board this year and it's a disgrace the amount of money that the North West 200 receives compared to other events.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The North West 200 was abandoned due to heavy rain
Bruce Anstey on the YZR500 Yamaha at the Classic TT
Bruce Anstey on the YZR500 Yamaha at the Classic TT
Michael Dunlop at the Classic TT
Bruce Anstey on the YZR500 Yamaha at the Classic TT
Michael Dunlop at the Ulster Grand Prix on the BMW Motorrad S1000RR
Carl Fogarty will take part in a special tribute lap to Joey Dunlop at the Classic TT
Graeme Crosby will participate in a special parade lap at the Classic TT in tribute to Joey Dunlop
Robert Dunlop on the Norton Rotary at the Isle of Man TT in 1990
Michael Dunlop (Superbike) at Southern 100 (Pic: apex-photos.com)
John McGuinness on the Honda Fireblade in the Senior race at the Isle of Man TT
Senior TT race winner Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop on the BMW Motorrad S1000RR in the Senior TT
Michael Dunlop, Conor Cummins and Guy Martin on the Senior TT podium
Michael Rutter on the Smiths Triumph
William Dunlop on the Tyco Suzuki Supersport machine at the Isle of Man TT
John McGuinness on the Valvoline Padgetts Honda in the Superstock race at the Isle of Man TT
Michael Dunlop lines up at the start of the second Supersport TT race

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