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near Whitehouse Lower, N Ireland (United Kingdom)
It's that time of year again when the world's 2nd most famous road race (after the Isle of Man TT) returns to the north coast. The last few years have, frankly, been something of a debacle. Two years ago there was a bomb scare in the paddock, last year only one race was run and even that was cut short due to adverse weather conditions. The word on the grapevine is that the NW200 needs to start having clear trouble free running and a successful few years. Other road races here had worrying developments over recent years, with oil[s] deliberately put down on the track the night before the race - this is something that if it hadn't been picked up on could (and most probably would) have resulted in a fatality.
This year I am again heading up to Portstewart / Portrush. Something I haven't done for a few years (not since we did a paddock visit three years ago). The weather forecast is set fair (although I won't hold my breath!). The plan is for Kiv's to come up to Belfast and then to head up (presumably on the Antrim Coast Road), I hope this will have quite a few other bikers on it and I'd be surprised if it didn't. I can remember the last time I was up overtaking cars on the main Coleraine Road, virtually everyone pulling in towards the left to let bikers past. I lived in Portstewart for just over a year when I was studying for my Masters in Maritime Archaeology. I find it a curious place - genuinely phenomenal in the summer months and quite oppressive in the winter. I was a student at the time, so funds were always short, although I was constantly on a hedonistic quest, often succeeding! Body boarding of White Rocks at approximately midnight in December with the water temperature warmer than the ambient air temperature, and seeing the Northern Lights at the same time will remain a highlight of my time there. It was also while living here that I was first on a bike, albeit as a pillon. I think my thirst for things two-wheeled began here, appropriate then that I return to it as a cathedral