TOUGH NW200 DEBUT FOR RAF RESERVES

RAF Reserves NW200 Qualifying

RAF Reserves NW200 Qualifying

The Royal Air Force Reserves Honda team, run by Lee Hardy Racing, experienced a dramatic race debut North West 200

Qualifying in 19th , Simon Andrews – the fastest newcomer at the North West 200 in 2011 around the high-speed, 8.97 mile ‘Triangle’ circuit on the closed roads around the Northern Ireland towns of towns of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush

Despite difficult conditions throughout qualifying and a 19th  grid position in the ‘second wave’ of riders, Andrews was feeling confident ahead of the Thursday night race after posting an ’ideal lap’ that would theoretically place him 5th.

With low sun and the circuit a mixture of wet and dry patches, the conditions were challenging and to add to the drama, Andrews suffered a problem with the white, red and blue Honda at the start of the sighting lap.

With the no.14 machine quickly pulled off the grid and into the pits, the RAF Reserves Team acted quickly and Andrews was able to return to the sighting lap in time to take his spot on the grid with the second wave.

Despite the setback, the Evesham rider made a flying start, initially into ‘second’, to then start a long race duel with five other riders that after almost half of an hour and six high-speed laps would eventually see him finish 13th , just behind fellow Honda rider Cameron Donald.

Andrews: from 19th on the grid to 13th in the race

Andrews: from 19th on the grid to 13th in the race

Simon Andrews said: “I was hampered in qualifying with times taken from the first practice where we finished right down the order. But to be in the second wave and finish just outside the top ten in dodgy conditions is good. We had a dry rear and a wet front, probably not the ideal tyre combination, but its good to get to the first race day out of the way and we have a good set-up for Saturday.”

Team manager, Lee Hardy said: “We had a problem with the starter solenoid on the grid which ment we had to push start Simon. It added a bit of drama to our North West 200 debut, but Simon is a professional rider and regrouped. Finishing 13th  isn’t unlucky for us and Simon posted a best race lap faster than 10th  place finisher, Jamie Hamilton. There’s certainly more to come from the bike, team as well as the rider. Bring on Saturday!

RESULTS: LiveWire AV Solutions Superstock (Race 3)

1. Alastair Seeley, 2. Bruce Anstey, 3. Gary Johnson, 13. Simon Andrews

NEXT RACES: Saturday May 18

TK2_3468 Who are Lee Hardy Racing?

As part of a high-profile recruitment campaign for the Royal Air Force with backing from Honda UK, the team was established and is managed by former racer Lee Hardy, an employee of the Forward Engineering Support Squadron at RAF Marham.

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