NW200: Richard Cooper powers to maiden victory in opening Supertwin race on Ryan Farquhar-built Kawasaki

Richard Cooper romped to his first North West 200 victory with a dominant performance in the opening Supertwin race on Saturday for NI team J McC Roofing.

By Kyle White
Saturday, 14th May 2022, 11:08 am

In a change to the race schedule, Thursday’s Supertwin race – cancelled because of poor weather and fading light – was held first over four laps.

And pole man Cooper took control from the beginning, quickly pulling clear of the pack to win on the Ryan Farquhar-built Kawasaki machine by 8.4s from Pierre Yves Bian on the VAS Paton, who became the first Frenchman to seal a podium at the North West 200.

Magherafelt’s Paul Jordan notched up his maiden podium at the event as he finished third on the PreZ Racing Kawasaki, only 0.2s behind Yves Bian.

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Richard Cooper on the J McC Roofing Kawasaki.

Lee Johnston was four seconds back in fourth on the Ashcourt Racing Aprilia, narrowly holding off Jeremy McWilliams (IFS/Bayview Hotel Paton), with the top six completed by Yorkshireman Jamie Coward.

Nottingham man Cooper was 4.6s clear after lap one from Johnston, with Yves Bian on his rear wheel in third and Jordan in the mix in fourth.

Three-time winner McWilliams made a mistake at Juniper Hill chicane on the opening lap and lost ground, while Michael Dunlop ran on at University on the McAdoo Kawasaki.

At the end of lap two, Cooper was eight seconds ahead as he broke the lap record by three seconds to extend his advantage, setting a new speed of 111.580mph.

Yves Bian was still holding second with Jordan breathing down his neck, while Johnston was lying fourth on the new Aprilia RS660, which was no match for the top-end speed of his Kawasaki and Paton rivals.

By the end of lap three, Cooper’s lead was now nine seconds, with Jordan up to second position ahead of Yves Bian.

McWilliams was 1.9s back in fourth, followed by Coward on the KTS Kawasaki, with Johnston dropping to sixth.

Cooper was out on his own and in total control of the race, with the 39-year-old – the top newcomer in 2019 – bringing the Kawasaki home for his first North West 200 victory by 8.4s from Yves Bian, with former Ulster Grand Prix Supertwin winner Jordan right on his tail in third.

Skerries man Michael Sweeney finished seventh ahead of Randalstown-based Christian Elkin on the Dynocentre NI Kawasaki.

Michael Rutter (ILR/Coverdale Paton) and Peter Hickman (PHR Performance Aprilia) were the top ten.