When planning your trip to the Northwest 200 and the TT, we highly recommend allowing for a minimal period of 40 nights. If you are just going to the TT (only) allow a minimum of 20 nights from when you get off the plane until the morning you get up to get back on the plane.
We suggest starting your holiday off with a trip to the International Northwest 200. This is on the North Coast of Northern Ireland and runs between the towns of Portrush, Portstewart, and Coleraine. This motorcycle race meeting is Ireland's largest outdoor sporting event. Attracting in excess of 100,000 spectators. Practice is all day Tuesday and Thursday morning before the main events. There are several separate races of 4-6 laps held on the Thursday afternoon and all day Saturday. All practice and races are on closed roads. The street circuit is mostly public roads but does include three speed reducing chicanes. The circuit is 8.97 miles long per lap. The fastest recorded speed through the speed trap is 208 mph/334.74kph
Dates for the Northwest 200
Tuesday 11th May to Saturday 15th May
Cost, Currency and Banks
We would like to give you an idea of costs based on a trip in the UK to go to the North West 200. To give you a better understanding please see the following. Note that all prices are in pounds EXCEPT the airfares. ATM machines are available in most places.
Flights to Gatwick or Heathrow in the United Kingdom from NZ return range in price between $1,900-$3,200 NZ dollars. We book our airfares online through www.expedia.co.nz You should book a night in Gravesend to catch up on some sleep before riding your bike.www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotels-Gravesend
Ferries to the Northwest 200
Be sure to book a ferry early as the prices go up closer to race week. For travel to Northern Ireland the ferry leaves from Liverpool, Cairnryan, Birkenhead or Heysham from the UK mainland. Prices are £150-£230 per bike and rider return. Or you can travel from the UK mainland Holyhead, Fishguard and Prembroke over to Southern Ireland Dublin, Dun Laoghaire or Rosslare for £100-£230 per bike and rider return. You can book a ferry from the UK mainland to Northern Ireland or Southern Ireland on the following links: www.stenaline.co.uk or www.irishferries.com
Fuel, Car Hire and Taxis
If you are going to the NW200 and TT, we estimate you will be riding around about 1200 miles (from Gravesend to the Northwest 200 and the TT on the Isle of Man) with a bit of riding around and then back to Gravesend. We estimate an 18 litre tank doing 150 miles. Petrol is £1.45-£1.51 per litre. So allow for 8 full tanks of fuel approximately £210.
Should you wish to hire a car, there are several car hire companies. See the following link as an example: www.rentalcars.com Drivers licenses are required. Driving rules are the same as in New Zealand. See the following link for taxi hire. See: www.taxiregister.com
WIFI, Mobile Phones and Landlines
The main networks are O2-UK, Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Three. O2 has the best coverage and the most popular. Free WiFi is available from various hotels, cafes, restaurants or pubs/clubs but Broadband speed varies. When you ring from one land line to another there is no need for any area codes. If you are dialing from the rest of the UK, use the area code of (028) when ringing to Northern Ireland. Or dialing from outside the United Kingdom use the UK country code (0044) followed by the Northern Ireland code of (28). International phone cards are available and also phone boxes take payment in GBP£ and Euro.
For ALL emergencies, please dial 999
Food at the races is available from vantage points around the circuit from £4-£8 for quick food from stalls. £4-£25 for pub and restaurants meals.
Accommodation at the Northwest 200
Race week around the triangle area Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine is at a premium as visitors travel to the Northwest 200 on an annual basis. Accommodation can be let on the basis of a minimum 4 night stay or longer. There are a number of options for accommodation at the Northwest 200. From motels, bed and breakfast, self catering to camping. We can provide 2 to 3 man tents if you require them £5 per night (£150 bond per tent). We recommend the following websites for accommodation/information for the Northwest 200: www.discovernorthernireland.com/Coleraine-Tourist-Information-Centre
If you want grandstand tickets book them early for this event. You can get gate tickets on the day. See: www.northwest200.org
Start/Finish For lots of excitement you can sit in a grandstand or purchase a ticket for the corporate balcony to see the riders start and finish the race. Access is prior to roads closing. Otherwise you can walk from either York Corner or the Metropole area.
York Hairpin You can get a seat in the grandstand. You can watch riders work out their positions from this vantage point on their first round. Access is only available via the Portstewart area after the roads close.
Station Corner Viewing is limited due to safety restrictions. This is probably the fastest corner on the course. Again access should be gained prior to roads closing or if you are positioned on the inside of the circuit, you can access Station Corner via Roselick Road.
Black Bridge Between Station Corner and University you can view the race. Access from the inside of the course along Islandtasserty Road.
Speed Trap Location This is the point where the superbike machines flash past at over 200 mph. Access is difficult after roads close as this area is the fastest section of the course. If you wish to spectate here, you can walk across the fields from University Corner.
University Corner Excellent views from either the inside or outside of this corner. Access from Coleraine (Shell Bridge area) past the University of Ulster.
Ballysally Roundabout Riders run anti-clockwise around Ballysally “Magic Roundabout” before heading onto the Portrush Road. This is a great viewing point. For those who like a quick exit at 6.45 pm – this is an ideal location for you! This section is very easily accessed from the ring road area on the main route to the circuit. Parking is readily available at the Roundabout prior to roads closing. This area has full commentary with hot food and toilet facilities.
Mathers Cross This is the most spectacular corner on the course. Access available from Gateside Road and lslandtasserty Road (inside of circuit) after roads close.
Chicane Introduced as a 'slowing down and safety device' on the run into the Metropole A top spot for spectating. Access via Gateside Road then Loguestown Road.
Metropole Corner Metropole embankment looks spectacular with over 3000 race fans lining the outside of the track. Everyone watching the fast left hand sweeper on the approach to Church Corner. Access is not limited but get there early as many spectators make an annual pilgrimage.
Church Corner This is a tight right hand bend using only half the normal road width and viewing on the left hand side approach is excellent. Get there early and to get a great spot. Access is from Portrush or the coastal path but once you're at Church Corner it's virtually an all-day lock in.
Railway Arch This right-left underneath the railway bridge has limited access and vantage points so get there early! Access from Portrush or walk the coastal path from the start/finish.
Black Hill Best views are from the outside of the bend looking down on the riders as they flash into view from Dhu Varren and up towards Black Hill. A fantastic location with cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean as the main backdrop. Access is available along the Coast Road from either the Start/Finish or Metropole (Portrush).
Juniper Hill Chicane For a variety of vantage points this is ideal You can walk between Juniper Hill and Black Hill. The best access is from the Coast Road which runs from Portrush to York Corner. Access on the inside is limited to the Juniper Hill Caravan Park. Parking is also limited around these areas. Best to park in Portrush or Portstewart or in the official parking areas.