Portrush (Northern Ireland) - May 16th 2015
Tough roads debut for Gary Johnson and GBmoto Racing Kawasaki at the North West 200 as niggling machine troubles meant rider Gary Johnson had to retire from the Superbike and Superstock races.
With the Vauxhall International North West 200 marking GBmoto Racing’s debut Road Race, rider Johnson #7 used the practice sessions on Tuesday and Thursday to continue development on his Superstock and Superbike Kawasaki ZX-10R machines. Despite it being the first road event for the team, Gary was still able to qualify in second for the Superbike class.
Following a red flag in Thursday evening’s Superstock race, it was postponed until Saturday, however two further red flags, followed by a lengthy delay saw it eventually cancelled. With weather affecting the entire race day, the opening Superbike race saw Gary launch his GBmoto Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R off the line, immediately running with the leading group throughout the opening laps. Unfortunately, a fault in the tilt switch saw the bike repeatedly cut out, forcing Gary to withdraw from the race at the end of lap three.
With a short rain shower ahead of the second Superstock race, Gary again enjoyed a strong start to the race as he climbed up to eighth from his 13th position on the grid by the half way mark on the opening lap. However with multiple starts on the machine, he encountered problems with the clutch which again meant he had to retire from the race.
With strong winds picking up ahead of the main feature race, the organisers decided it was too dangerous to race and the Vauxhall NW200 Superbike race was cancelled. Despite the lack of track action, the GBmoto Racing team were still able to learn valuable information which they will put into action ahead of the Isle of Man TT.
A disappointed Gary Johnson said, “It’s been a bit of a tough event, on one hand we’ve learnt loads with both the Superbike and Superstock machines and have really been able to improve both bikes but on the other, the results unfortunately don’t reflect that due to two minor problems which forced us out.
Overall I’m happy with the two machines, we were running up there in the Superbike race before a small fault with a sensor meant the bike kept cutting out, whilst we never got to show our true potential in the Superstock race as the clutch fried! It’s been a great test bed and we know what areas we need to improve or work on ahead of the TT."
Written By: Mike Aylwin
Photo By: Bonnie Lane