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International North West 200 logoThe 2011 Relentless North West 200 (NW200) is scheduled to take place on 21 May of next year; so far, so good. The 2011 FIM Endurance World Championship’s second round is to be run on 22 May in Albacete, Spain; now we have a problem.

It seems that John McGuinness and Keith Amor are set to race for the Honda TT Legends team in the Spanish FIM Endurance round and will not be able to attend the NW200. This announcement was made last month at the UK’s Carole Nash Motorcycle Live show at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham.

The Honda team has asked the organizer to reschedule the NW200, but there is no practical way to do so given the large amount of coordination needed to pull off the real roads event on the streets of Northern Ireland. Many businesses must adjust schedules, people rent out rooms and houses, and large amounts of traffic must be re-routed for the event to be safe and successful. A change would be a logistical nightmare for locals, fans and racers alike, according to NW200 Race Director Mervyn Whyte, though he did consider it seriously. No harm in asking, eh?

For the first time in many years, five-time winner John McGuinness will be absent from Irish Isle as he fights for a good position in Spain. Keith Amor won the NW200 Superstock class in 2010 and would – at least – like to be looking for win number two in 2011, but that must wait until 2012.

The whole issue is caused by a series of other scheduled events which forced a slight adjustment to the normal 2011 Honda TT Legends Team NW200 date. The Irish race is usually held a week earlier, but the British Superbike Championship event at Croft (13 – 15 May) would not allow that; many riders compete in both races.

The weekend previous to that is a local election (US residents: imagine having a championship NASCAR event scheduled for the first Tuesday in November – close to that). The Spanish FIM Endurance round was originally scheduled for 25 June. However, when the British round of that series at Donington Park (21 August) was added to next year’s calendar, the press release noting this also stated that the Albacete event had moved to 22 May. No further explanation was given…

Since both Amor and McGuinness are part of the Honda team bound for the FIM Endurance World Championship, they will be obliged to take part in the festivities of the Spanish Circuito de Albacete on 22 May. The International North West 200 will go ahead as planned on 21 May without the two riders, and it will likely be a good show. Many other notable riders will be in attendance at the event; the likes of Michael Rutter, Steve Plater and Stuart Easton will certainly put on a good display for all. It truly is unfortunate that two past winners will not be there. Though, it does leave more for everyone else.

For more information on the NW200, take this link: www.northwest200.org

Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

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