North West 200: Lari brothers take on Superbikes

Now 17, Zahra Lari thought she would be ditching her boy racer name soon after coming fifth in a North West 200 test in May.

However, the West Lothian teenager was never going to go racing for herself, so now she is continuing her intense seven-hour pitstop that was set up by her 18-year-old brother Joe.

Lari is competing in Europe’s most renowned ultra-off-road race with a two-wheeled car – the 2010 Dura Grandstaff Polaris Slingshot that has been designed and built by Velo Racing.

The model, designed and built by Joe’s grandfather Bill, allows racer, and navigator, drivers to share the front seat.

After making her competitive debut in May, Lari qualified for North West 200 races in two series that have just come into the Open category – the National Superbike Road Race and the Nationals Supercross Road Race.

If Lari is to win in her first North West 200 season, she will need to battle back from the early disappointment that saw her drop out of her first race in a qualifying heat.

However, her first ever race at Clifton Grand Prix Circuit was much happier, and she ended up finishing fourth, that finished almost 3.5 seconds behind winner Anna Bowman, an open road racer.

Andrew Irwin’s two wins this season confirmed himself as Ulster Grand Prix champion, and the horse racing ace can now look forward to a home Ulster Grand Prix showpiece this August.

Next week in Galway, Lari will again be joined by her big brother Joe, 18, as he pulls in a car that has been built on his own and tested for months and days on end by his mother Sally Dyckman – a competitive queen on the super bikes since 1981.

Joe Dyckman says her combination of ability and reliability was one of his driving influences.

John McGuinness, British Superbike champion and Shank Racing ace now rides for Racing Point Engineering and has become one of the biggest names in the North West 200 professional ranks in recent years.

McGuinness provided a vital first team ride for Henrik Pastrami back in July when he won his first UK Superbike race this season and he is up against Czech talent Alvaro Hernandez as he continues his bid for a rare European title.

McGuinness is one of 11 riders in the field in the 76th Northern Ireland Grand Prix meeting and the season is heading towards a climax.

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