Wednesday, 14 May 2014

North West remains best

It's that time of year when tens of thousands of us head to the Causeway Coast to get the heads beaten off us in the wind, rain and North Atlantic foam whilst waiting desperately in hope of seeing an occasional mad bloke whizz past on a two-wheeled rocket ship.

Yes friends, it's time for The Vauxhall International North West 200 2014.

To be fair, the forecast this year is better than last year. Yes, we will almost certainly get pneumonia on Saturday. That's almost a given these days. But the weather for final practice tomorrow morning and the first three races tomorrow evening is much more positive. Someone told me it could be as warm as 8 degrees before the sun goes down but I suspect that statement was merely drink-fuelled wishful thinking.

As in previous years, my motorcycle mad stepdad Mike will be there. In fact, I'm meeting him and my dad for our very own preview show (starring only us) in my spiritual home, the Railway Arms, at precisely 1942 this evening. (Clare, could you stick one on for me? Thanks). 

And joining us tomorrow for the first time is Sandy from Edinburgh (latterly of London).

Here he is with another great man, Keith Lemon.

Sandy is a mechanic by trade and, when we met in tragic circumstances last summer, he pledged that we should get together for a cheerier time at the North West. He's proven to be as good as his word, which does not surprise me in the least.

As ever, you can follow all the live action over the coming days on the BBC Sport website. That is unless we are in a local hostelry, in which case you can't. And neither would I want you to.

However, before I go, I ask you to do me - and yourself - a favour.

As I say, the weather has been the Achilles heel of the North West 200 in recent years, not that it will thankfully ever stop people from coming. But it still can be frustrating.

At yesterday's opening practice session, eccentric Austrian racer Horst Saiger decided to lay his frustrations bare in a live BBC TV interview.

The excerpt I have for you isn't very long. Please watch it. And don't be drinking hot tea when you do.

Here's the link: