Race of the Year: 2nd - North West 200 Superbike
After another epic season of racing, MCN’s sports team of Michael Guy (Sports Editor), Simon Patterson (MotoGP reporter) and Oli Rushby (Superbike reporter) sat down to discuss their favourite races of the year across MotoGP, World Superbike, British Superbike and road racing.
It’s been a year of huge action across all classes – and it wasn’t an easy decision to cut down the 120-odd races we’ve seen this year to a mere five. Here’s what we think - but feel free to disagree with us in the comments!
2nd – North West 200 Superbike Race – Glenn Irwin vs Alastair Seeley
It doesn’t get much more edge of your seat than the final Superbike race at this year’s North West 200, which resulted in an epic showdown between the event’s most successful rider and relative rookie Glenn Irwin.
Two determined Northern Irishmen, going for glory on home soil – there was a lot at stake. Add to that the inherent danger of road racing and you can’t help but respect the lengths at which the boys went to win.
After mixed conditions throughout the day, the weather held off enough for a barnstorming seven lap Superbike battle with the two Ulsterman battling to the end with the second Tyco BMW of Ian Hutchinson also in the mix.
A stunning start saw Irwin lead from the off but rival Seeley had his work cut-out after spinning it up on the line. The North West-specialist carved through the pack to join Irwin, Hutchinson and Rutter at the front in the early stages.
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As the second half of the race got underway, it was clear this would be between the Be Wiser Ducati and Tyco BMW of Seeley, with the pair relentlessly scrapping for the lead in what can only be described as a manner akin to short circuit racing.
There was a heart-in-the-mouth moment for Seeley on the final lap as he looked for a way around Irwin on the ultra-high speed run down to University, clipping the grass and losing significant time.
Regaining time, Seeley would then pull a ballsy move on his rival at Church but it wouldn’t be enough to hold the Ducati off, with Irwin back in the lead on the way into the Juniper chicane.
Irwin’s victory came in just his fourth race at the North West and only his second on a Superbike after making his debut with Be Wiser PBM Ducati this year.