North West 200 - BBC coverage details, race timetable, preview

Michael Dunlop leads Davey Todd at the North West 200
Michael Dunlop leads Davey Todd during a Superstock race at the 2023 North West 200 [Pacemaker Press]

One of the most anticipated events of the year for bike fans, North West 200 race week, is upon us once again and BBC Sport NI has you covered for exclusive wide-ranging coverage of the annual international road race on the north coast of Northern Ireland.

There will be full live-streamed coverage of all the qualifying sessions and races on BBC iPlayer UK wide and on the BBC Sport website internationally, plus live audio coverage of the racing on Thursday evening and throughout Saturday on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio Foyle FM, with BBC Radio Ulster broadcasting coverage for two hours on Saturday afternoon.

In addition, you can follow live text commentary, clips, race highlights, reports and reaction of all practices and races on the BBC Sport website.

Stephen Watson, Larry Carter, Phillip McCallen, Keith Huewen and Steve Parrish will guide you through the action on iPlayer, with Michael McNamee, Orla Bannon, Steve English, Chris Kinley and Adrian Coates forming the presentation and commentary team on Sounds.

Former racers Jamie Hamilton and Jenny Tinmouth will also be part of the radio team.

You can also watch highlights of all the high-speed action in separate television programmes on BBC One NI on Friday 10 May at 22:40 BST, Sunday 12 May at 22:30 and Monday 13 May at 22:40 , with all three also available to view on BBC iPlayer.

Times of livestreams on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website (times BST)

Wednesday 8 May - 10:00 to 14:30

Thursday 9 May - 10:00 to 14:30 and 17:30 to 20:45

Saturday 11 May - 09:20 to close of racing.

Times of audio commentaries on BBC Sounds and Radio Foyle - Thursday 9 May - 17:00 BST to 21:00; Saturday 11 May - 09:00 to 19:00; also live on Radio Ulster from 14:00 to 16:00

Practice and race schedule for 2024

There are a few changes to the qualifying and race schedule for 2024 with first practice taking place on Wednesday 8 May, rather than the traditional Tuesday of race week.

Also, there will be an extra Superbike race on the programme, this being scheduled as part of a revamped programme for racing on Thursday evening.

Wednesday 8 May - Roads closed from 09:00 BST to 15:00 BST for practice - Newcomers, Superbikes, Supersports, Superstocks and Supertwins

Thursday 9 May - Roads closed from 09:00 BST to 15:00 BST for practice - Superbikes, Supersports, Superstocks, Supertwins

Roads closed from 16:45 BST to 21:00 BST for racing - Race 1 - Superbikes (4 laps); Race 2 - Supersports (4 laps); Race 3 - Superstocks (4 laps)

Saturday 11 May - Roads closed from 09:00 BST to 21:00 BST - Race 1 - Supertwins (4 laps); Race 2 - Superbikes (6 laps); Race 3 - Supersports (6 laps); Race 4 - Superstocks (6 laps); Race 5 - Supertwins (4 laps); Race 6 - Superbikes (6 laps)

Glenn Irwin
Glenn Irwin will again ride a PBM Ducati at this year's North West 200 [Pacemaker Press]

Who are the likely winners?

Glenn Irwin has won the last eight Superbike races around the nine-mile Triangle circuit and will start as favourite to add to that tally.

The PBM Ducati rider sits one short of the record nine victories achieved in the premier 'blue riband' class, held jointly by the late Joey Dunlop and Michael Rutter.

A hat-trick of wins would see him join Phillip McCallen in equal fifth place in the all-time North West winners' list on 11.

Record wins holder Alastair Seeley has been unable to find a competitive ride this year so he will be unable to add to his 29 triumphs and a number of riders will aim to take advantage of his absence.

Last year's double Supersport winner Davey Todd and Richard Cooper, also a two-time victor in the Supertwins category 12 months ago, will be fancied for further successes.

A quality field assembled by the organising Coleraine Club includes a number of other potential winners such as Michael Dunlop, Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison.

Harrison has switched to the Honda Racing set-up for 2024 while Hickman campaigns his own PHR Racing machinery and Todd is on board a Milwaukee BMW and a Ducati Supersport bike.

Other names to look out for include John McGuinness, Ian Hutchinson, Conor Cummins, Nathan Harrison, Michael Rutter and James Hillier, plus Irish riders Mike Browne, Paul Jordan and Adam McLean.

Class lap records

Superbikes - Peter Hickman, BMW, 2022, 4 minutes 18.753 seconds, 124.799mph

Superstocks - Alastair Seeley, BMW, 2023, 4 minutes 19.407 seconds, 124.484mph

Supersports - Peter Hickman, Triumph, 2023, 4 minutes 33.029 seconds, 118.273mph

Supertwins - Richard Cooper, Kawasaki, 2023, 4 minutes 47.677 seconds, 112.251mph