Maria Costello MBE made a superb return to road racing as she matched her best finish and put in a new personal best lap time at the 2022 Northwest 200 despite a difficult start.
Maria was delighted to be returning to her beloved sport at the North West 200 event onboard the Mark Coverdale Paton Supertwin race bike after almost three years of absence due to the pandemic.
Her initial hopes felt dashed when the race bike was delayed and she received it less than week before leaving for Northern Ireland.
“Being unable to test the bike before going to Ireland was far from ideal, it’s not how anyone wants to go racing,” said Maria. “John at JOG tuning helped us out immensely with multiple runs on the Dyno and my team of Michael, Chris & Derek worked tirelessly, but ultimately I needed dry laps to get up to speed.”
|Image by Ryan Donaldson|
Tuesday’s practice session was dry until a downpour hit just as they commenced the Supertwin session and Maria was caught out on dry tyres and only completed one lap. Thursday’s practice session was dry and Maria was finally able to run the bike but after only four laps some other issues were revealed and Thursday evening’s race was cancelled.
“The decision to run two races on Saturday was the best news ever. I needed those extra laps. I had my work cut out after only qualifying in 31st place but now I had two chances to improve on that. I was still super rusty in race one as I had very little feel from the suspension but what did feel great was to finally get a road race finish under the belt after two years off.”
Maria’s team were faultless in their efforts to put a good bike under Maria and with additional help from Mark from MotoShox they were able to make more changes and do just that for race two.
“Totally made up, 12th place and new PB lap time, I couldn’t believe it,” said Maria. “I did not think that was achievable at the start of the week, so massive thanks go to Mark Coverdale for this opportunity and huge kudos to my team; Michael, Chris, Derek, Jacqui and to Hammer for his support. I could not have done this without you.”
|By Tommy Vennard Photography|
The support and hospitality from the fans at the NW200 was as always amazing and Maria was overwhelmed at times by all the messages of support on social media and from all those who went to see her in the paddock throughout the event.
“The fans were incredible this year and well done to Mervyn, all his team and all the volunteers for making the NW200 happen, I know it’s been difficult. But all credit to them, I’ve never seen a crowd that big at the NW, it really was a spectacle and something the government should be proud of and should get behind and support, as it surely makes Northern Ireland great.”
Maria’s focus now moves to the Isle of Man TT races where she will not only compete on the Mark Coverdale Paton but on her own LCR F2 Kawasaki sidecar and she’ll also be taking up a new role as part of the new TT presenting team. Practice starts on the 29th May and you can follow all the LIVE action from the comfort of your own home via a TT+ Live Pass available from ttplus.iomttraces.com
Special thanks to all 2022 sponsors for making this possible: MARK COVERDALE / FROG PROPERTY LTD, RAM SAFETY SOLUTIONS UK LTD, MAC TOOLS, ROCK OIL, SILVERSTONE AUCTIONS, TECHNIC electric, MJW SPECIALISTS, SMART FITS, NITRON SUSPENSION, THE STREET DINER, RST, ARAI, COLOUR KRAFT, POW GRAPHICS, OWB CREATIVE, HG CONCEPTS, KNOX, SARACEN BIKES, UNIT FITNESS PROGRAMMING, CHRISTIAN BAKER , WOLLASTON THERAPY CENTRE, DNG, PROGRIP, RACING BATTERIES, RACEBIKE BITZ, PIPERCROSS, HEL PERFORMANCE, DR MOTO, JAP4 PERFORMANCE, TM DETAILING, NGK SPARK PLUGS, STOMP GRIP – REACTIVE PARTS