NW200: Five-star Glenn Irwin prevails for narrow Superbike triumph over Davey Todd

Glenn Irwin pulled out all the stops in a scorching Superbike race to make it five premier class victories in a row following an epic battle with Davey Todd.

By Kyle White
Saturday, 14th May 2022, 1:11 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th May 2022, 1:13 pm

The duo traded blows all the way through the six-lap thriller in warm sunshine on the north coast, but it was British Superbike contender Irwin who prevailed to give the new Honda CBR1000RR-R Superbike its maiden victory on the roads.

Carrickfergus man Irwin squeezed his way past Todd at Metropole on the last lap and defended his line into Juniper chicane, holding off the Milenco by Padgett’s Honda rider by only 0.253s at the line.

Richard Cooper shone again on the Hawk Suzuki in third, 11 seconds back, with Josh Brookes taking fourth on the MCE Ducati as he returned to the North West 200 for the first time since 2014.

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Honda Racing's Glenn Irwin won the opening Superbike race at the North West 200 for his fifth victory in a row.

Alastair Seeley, a double winner in the Supersport and Superstock races in Thursday’s weather-hit races, was fifth on his IFS Yamaha Superstock machine, while Manx rider Conor Cummins (Milenco by Padgett’s Honda) finalised the top six.

James Hillier finished seventh on the OMG Yamaha with 14-time winner Michael Rutter in eighth on the Bathams BMW.

Peter Hickman shattered the lap record on his FHO Racing BMW with a speed of 124.799mph, but Hickman – whose prospects were ended when he overshot at University on the first lap – retired on lap five after hauling himself back into contention for the top six.

Irwin took the lead from pole as Hickman in second place fluffed his lines.

Todd made an excellent start and was into second place and chasing down Irwin as the top two opened a slight advantage on the first lap.

Irwin held a slender gap of 0.3s at the end of the lap over Todd, who was 2.3s clear of Cooper, with Michael Dunlop right behind his fellow Hawk Suzuki rider.

Irwin and Todd were swapping places as they stretched their advantage over Cooper, who was now clear in third.

Dunlop retired in the pits, with Dean Harrison into fourth on the DAO Racing Kawasaki, albeit some way behind Cooper.

Irwin and Todd continued to set a blistering place out front as the race reached a crescendo, with only a few tenths between them throughout.

On the last lap, Irwin pulled a gap of 0.6s, but Todd closed back in to the rear of the factory Honda rider by the time they reached Ballysally.

Todd made a pass at Magherabuoy chicane and held the lead going into Metropole, but Irwin went through on his inside to hit the front at a crucial moment.

As they powered towards Juniper chicane, Irwin guarded his line and held off the exceptional Todd to make it five Superbike wins in a row.

Nottingham man Cooper was 11.4s back as he rounded out the rostrum places.