Banbridge racer Ryan Gibson has proven that dreams do come true as he is set to compete at the NW 200 races this week.
While Ryan has been a spectator at the May showcase since he was a young boy, this will be the first year that he will be on the other side of the track.
Ryan, the son of Lawrence and Elizabeth Gibson, only began racing four years ago after saying to a friend at the NW 200 that “some day that will be me”.
Over the past 48 months, the Banbridge man has taken part in a number of races, culminating with a finish in the Ulster Grand Prix Road Race at Dundrod last year.
“When I said that I will race at the NW one day, I don’t think anyone took me seriously.
“After I said that, I went and got my race licence, without even being on a track. It involved taking a seminar over the winter period and after that I got myself a bike,” he said.
Three years ago Ryan competed and won the Ulster and Irish Supersport Cup which put him into the professional class.
He then came third in the Ulster and Irish Superbike Pro Race.
“My results on track gained me entry into my first road race the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod where I got 14th in Supersport race.
“You can’t just decide that you want to take part in the NW 200 and enter. You have to put your entry forward and then they decide whether to accept you. It is very hard to get a chance to even compete in,” he said.
Ryan said that while he is excited about what lies ahead, he is sure that he will be nervous when he gets there. He also has had to overcome an injury he sustained just a few weeks ago.
“I fell off at Easter and cracked two ribs so I have not been able to do much in the lead up to the competition, but hopefully it will all fall into place.”
Ryan, who works in the family business at Gibson Motors on the Castlewellan Road, will be taking part in the Supersport and Supertwin Race, with practices on both Tuesday and Thursday before two races on Saturday.
“I will be racing against all the big names but I will try and just concentrate on doing my own thing.
“There are a lot of corners and bumps on the road and while you can drive around it in the car, it is completely different when you get on the bike.
“The North West is not the place to go out and try and act the hero, especially on your first time.
“If I could get in the top 20 I would be over the moon, considering that there could be 40 trying to qualify.”
Ryan said that he knows it is a dangerous sport but that is something that he tries “not to think about”.
“I do race the superbike at home on the short circuit but for my first time at the North West I will stick to the smaller bikes.
“It is both time consuming and money consuming but it is something that I have always wanted to do,” said Ryan, who added that a huge thanks must go to his sponsors Ryan Farquhar KMR, Jason McCaw JMC and Barry Graham BG boats.