While circuit racing such as what we see in MotoGP and WorldSBK is truly spectacular and a showcase of the talents of both the rider and the teams behind them, road racing simply offers a different kind of rush. In road racing events such as the venerable and sometimes infamous Isle of Man TT, the stakes are so much higher, as races are held on temporarily closed public streets.
Road racing events are rather common in Europe, with several other series apart from the IOMTT in existence. For instance, the North West 200 is a road race held annually in Northern Ireland, and has been running pretty much consistently since 1929. Following a few revisons in the ’60s, the yearly event is now staged on an 8.97-mile street circuit known as the Triangle, situated between Portstewart, Coleraine, and Portrush in the Causeway Coast and Glens. With average speeds of 120 mph and top speeds exceeding 200 mph, the circuit is one of the fastest in the world.
Now, the event had been happening pretty much on a yearly basis for close to a century now, until COVID-19 put a stop to the action in 2020 and 2021. This year, with the world forcing itself upon a sense of normalcy, racing has been set to resume after two long years of absence. The race week will be held from May 8 to 14, 2022, with title sponsors fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils maintaining their commitments. Peter Hickman, Glenn Irwin, Dean Harrison, and John McGuinness, a multiple Isle of Man TT champion, are among the riders who have already confirmed their participation in the race.
The 2022 North West 200 will be the first international road race since the coronavirus pandemic halted action at all of the world’s major races in March 2020. Meanwhile, the Isle of Man TT races will return to the international road racing calendar this year, and the Ulster Grand Prix may return in August, according to reports.