Logistical Issues Force Honda Into Superstock-Only NW200 Entry

Honda Racing UK has headed to the North West 200 road race with only Superstock-spec machinery, owing to logistical issues

John McGuinness, 2024 North West 200.

Honda Racing UK has only taken Superstock-spec motorcycles to the 2024 North West 200 this week. 

It means that the official Honda UK team is only competing in the Superbike and Superstock classes, and not Supersport. Additionally, this forces Honda to pit its Superstock machine against Superbikes in the main North West 200 race on Saturday and the additional Superbike-class race on Thursday evening.

Honda puts the decision down to logistical problems, particularly concerning parts supply and the 2024 racing calendar (the NW200 takes place between the Oulton Park and Donington BSB rounds, and three weeks before the Isle of Man TT starts). 

“Due to the demands of the 2024 calendar and schedule, combined with challenges in the supply chain regarding parts and materials, Honda Racing UK will not be running Superbike or Supersport machinery at this year’s NW200,” Honda Racing UK said. “As a result, riders Dean Harrison, John McGuinness MBE and Nathan Harrison will utilise Superstock specification Fireblades in both the Superbike and Superstock classes throughout the event.”

Honda Racing UK team manager Havier Beltran’s comments were along the same lines. “Unfortunately, due to the nature of the calendar this year and the significant delays in sourcing parts and materials, we are only going to be racing Superstock machines. Obviously, this is less than ideal, but we are still hugely excited to see how Dean, John and Nathan can perform on their 2024 Fireblades.”

Dean Harrison, new to Honda for 2024, echoed Beltran’s comment about the situation being “less than ideal”. 

“This is obviously not how we planned to come to the North West 200,” Harrison said, “but it’s the circumstance that we have and we will keep on going.”

Harrison nonetheless spoke of his motivation to achieve good results at the North West 200, an event where he has achieved eight podiums in the past. “I am still determined to go out there and give it my all and fight for some great results. The North West is always a great event, for me, it’s the first road race of the year and the first time I get to go flat out on a closed road. I’ll go out there, get a feel for it and build into things and take it from there.”

John McGuinness enters the 2024 North West 200 30 years on from his debut there. “If you'd had said to me thirty years ago when I first came to the North West 200 that I would still be racing here into my fifties I’d have thought you were mad! But here we are, back for another go. This is an event that I have always loved coming to and I don't think you could find a more picturesque paddock in the world. When the sun is shining there is nowhere like it and I can’t wait to get going.”

The third Honda rider, Nathan Harrison, returns to the North West 200 a year on from the crash which ended his road racing season in 2023. “I can’t wait to start my first race of the year and I’m really looking forward to getting my year started. I’ve just had a really successful two days of testing at Oulton Park and I’m looking forward to racing this new Fireblade for the first time. Last year this event didn’t quite go to plan, but I am confident that we can get five strong race finishes under our belt and lay all of the foundations to build into the year ahead.”

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