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NEW PERSONAL BEST FOR COSTELLO AT NORTHWEST 200

NEW PERSONAL BEST FOR COSTELLO AT NORTHWEST 200

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Maria Costello MBE has recorded two of her fastest ever Supertwin laps as she warms up for Saturday’s Vauxhall International Northwest 200.  

Riding her NGK Spark Plugs Kawasaki, Costello made a great start in Thursday evening’s race, despite starting from the back of the grid, and clocked five minutes 15.692 seconds for the first lap of the highly competitive four-lap race and went over half a second faster on the second lap.

Her new personal best lap times were more impressive as a mechanical fault had caused her to sit out the entire qualifying session that morning, resulting in the poor starting position.

But it was further problems that brought her race to an abrupt end when the bike developed fuelling issues and she was forced to retire at Ballysally roundabout on the final lap.

Costello had been in position for a potential high-place finish in a race eventually won by Martin Jessopp, who took his third North West 200 title late by edging out Jeremy McWilliams and long time race leader Joey Thompson.

She said: “Obviously I’m disappointed at the way my race finished, but there were plenty of positives to take from those laps I completed in the race and I’m looking forward to having another chance to improve yet again on Saturday.”

As well as racing, Costello, who met Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley during practice on Thursday, was the keynote speaker at a breakfast event hosted by Ulster University and also co-presented the ‘Miss Northwest 200’ competition on Tuesday evening alongside Adrian Logan.

A smiling Costello added: “It’s always great to be involved in the extra activities at the NW200 and give something back to the sport and it’s fans. I was really nervous about co-presenting on stage, but overwhelmed with the positive feedback, so it looks like I’ll be back working with Logie again next year.”

Maria now turns her attention to Saturday’s race, where she will again be starting from the back of the grid, but will be aiming to secure her first International road race result of 2018.

Image courtesy Shaun Lewis Photography.