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Old 06-29-2007, 11:10 PM   #16
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practice

There were European racing celebrities galore at the event and if you knew who you were looking at you might have every reason to be impressed with the caliber or rider you were watching. In fact I got Ian Lougher’s autograph (and pictures)
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Old 06-29-2007, 11:21 PM   #17
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Michael Rutter

and we had breakfast on raceday at the Ramada sitting 12 feet away from Michael Rutter whose practice and race speed (once they moved the radar gun to the right spot) touched 204 mph!
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Old 06-29-2007, 11:26 PM   #18
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The first 2 days we watched practice and qualifying of the NW 200 road race at such notable restaurant pubs as McDuffys or spent the time quaffing copious quantities of Guinness, Tenets, Harp, Black and tans and other fine beers every evening at the Port Rush Coach Inn where our Irish brothers in leathers, Arthur and Trevor, were staying. As we watched the bikes and riders hurtle past McDuffys at about 160 mph most of us tried to take pictures of the bikes while cringing at the thought of one swinging wide since we were all standing on the outside of the turn! Even though we were behind a chain link fence I doubted it would do much to slow a 450 pound missile (and rider) going 160 mph so I scoped out places to dive behind should a rider’s wobble get out of control. After a few Guinness’s though I realized that at the speed the bikes were going we’d scarcely have one second to dive behind the brick wall we were all standing on so I consequently gave up all hope of survival and relaxed. Picture taking proved a more daunting task than we originally assumed and thanks to our new digital era cameras many pictures of a vacant street were deleted and eventually replaced with actual pictures of speeding motorcycles.
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Old 06-30-2007, 01:44 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radracer
Yeah that would be the same one pictured here with my riding buddy Barb and myself.
Cool guys a legend.
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Treat your throttle and brakes like a pair of b**bies! You go grabbing them hard and you're going to get slapped. You want to massage them nice and smooth. That way the bike will kiss you. Chris Carr
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:20 AM   #20
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Phillip McCallen

A legend and a super nice guy. He had dinner with us on our final day and regailed us with all sorts of stories. He's really sick of Aprillia's lack of support for their bikes though. Loves Triumph. The stubborn Italians won't even provide him with contracts in English and he refuses to sign one in Italian. Terrible parts support too.
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:44 AM   #21
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Cool2 NW 200 practice and qualifying

Videotaping proved easier but ate up storage space from our cameras.
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Old 07-01-2007, 01:55 AM   #22
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Eek Riding around

In subsequent days we would end up going riding to various scenic places of interest usually with Trevor and Arthur leading the way as they seemed to have omniscience of the location of every cop and actual speed camera in Ireland.
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Old 07-01-2007, 01:59 AM   #23
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Riding around

I say actual because rumor had it that there were really only two actual speed cameras in Ireland and hundreds of speed camera signs placed everywhere for “traffic calming” (to slow your ass down) as a few of the more honest signs explained we were being subjected to in the towns. Traffic calming usually consisted of large red square humps or full lane width speed bumps in the road to slow traffic though they were only located in the towns themselves thankfully. While riding around one roundabout a fluorescent yellow clad police officer merged into our group. Suspecting that he had seen some part of our hooliganism I prepared to see him pull over our Irish friends at the front of the pack. To my amusement he sped away from our group at about 90 mph. leaving us once again free to mock the speed limits. During one such ride in the countryside (part of which was in rainy weather) we hurtled down beautiful, green-trimmed twisty roads at speeds of around 65 mph and on average four lane divided highways at average speeds of 85 mph with occasional blasts up to 115 mph as my “thrilled” passenger huddled as close as humanly possible. When the exhilarating ride was over I felt a sense of accomplishment for having survived but also pride in not having whimped out in any fashion since at all times I actually was having a lot of fun! I was just glad someone else in front was risking the speeding tickets. Since I had my compatriot Barbara on the back I thought discretion was the better part of valor and didn’t want to test the unbalanced braking capabilities of the Sprint on wet roads should our local hosts decide on a last minute turn. Aside from that I figured if someone ever pulled out in front of the group someone would have to help scrape everyone off the road and report back so I often stayed in the back with occasional blasts to the front. To their credit I found Irish drivers to be far more observant, helpful and cooperative with speeding bikers than I could ever imagine in America and I saw few if any bad moves by car drivers during the entire stay there. The only accident I saw was at an intersection where our group passed a black Dodge pickup that had pulled out in front of a woman on a motorcycle. The sportbike had come to rest crammed up against the front of the truck and emergency personnel were loading her up in an ambulance as we passed. Fortunately it didn’t look too serious and I suspected a “foreign driver” in the uncharacteristically huge American truck had made the same mistake a few of us Americans had made the first day or two driving on the left as we had neglected to look right while pulling out into the roadway at that very intersection in fact, among others. In fact I found myself yelling three or four times at a few members of our group while on their bikes (including our leader and his pillion daughter) and while driving in the minivans to keep them from pulling out directly in front of approaching vehicles on their right. Not trying to toot my own horn but there is little doubt I saved a few such drivers/riders from serious carnage.
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Old 07-01-2007, 02:04 AM   #24
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My Pillion

Boo on Trevors Rocket III.
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Old 07-01-2007, 02:35 AM   #25
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Dunluce Castle

After practice we dropped by the beautiful Dunluce castle directly across the road from our Girl Scout lodgings.

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Old 07-01-2007, 02:41 AM   #26
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One more

Dunluce castle deserves one more shot. with me and Boo.


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Old 07-06-2007, 04:06 AM   #27
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Thumb Race time draws nigh

The following day part of our group rode the track in anticipation of the race. Starting in Port Rush and proceeding to Port Stewart then out to Coleraine we flew around the course while my pillion videotaped from behind me. Regular traffic seemed to merge pretty well with the local "pretend racers", like us, who rode the race course behind the roaring behemoth of Trevor’s thundering Triumph Rocket 3 and Arthur’s black Harley Davidson Heritage. Shouting “Hang-on” I couldn’t resist a few wheelies out of the tighter corners as my patient trusting pillion Barbara grabbed my waist firmly. While on some of the amazingly long straight-aways and roundabouts Barbara got some great videos of us riding the course at up to 90 mph. This video from the BBC NI web site for the NW200 shows the racetrack we rode around which wasn't wet during the race or when we rode around it like it is in the video.
There is quite a bit a material there (race history, race videos, etc.) that is interesting, including an interview with ex-racing Champion Phillip McCallen who is the super- nice bike shop owner we rented the bikes from and had dinner with on our final night in Banbridge. http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/tv/nw200/video22.shtml
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Old 07-06-2007, 04:11 AM   #28
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Race Day!

Race-day dawned nicely sunny by Irish standards and almost cloudless but with a strong cold wind that had me wishing I’d worn more protection as everyone around me shivered in the elevated stands which seemed to be up in the Jet stream of the frigid coastal Irish wind compared to the warmth at ground level.
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Old 07-06-2007, 04:14 AM   #29
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Talking The locals

I was frequently amazed that some of the locals were wearing thin summer type clothes but I guess they are used to it.
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Old 07-06-2007, 04:18 AM   #30
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Race Day!

The fanfare and color of thousands of race fans and motorcycles was fantastic and I wished I could be videotaping the entire event all through the day.
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