2023 North West 200: Glenn Irwin extends unbeaten Superbike streak to eight races

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Glenn Irwin extended his North West 200 Superbike race-winning streak to eight on Saturday as he won each of the two races onboard his BeerMonster Ducati.

Irwin was declared the winner in both races after they were brought to premature ends due to red flag incidents, and now finds himself just one victory away from equalling the Superbike record held by Joey Dunlop and Michael Rutter.

“It’s an amazing feeling to win two more Superbike races, although winning under red flags is never ideal so I hope the riders involved are all ok,” Irwin said. “From a personal point of view, it’s been a tough week and we’ve had to turn things around. I knew what I wanted from the bike and it’s safe to say I didn’t have that on Tuesday.

“The team changed the bike for me though and it was faultless. It took me a while to understand everything, and I haven’t always been involved in such close battles around here in Superbike races.

“That made the slipstream a little tricky, and all the boys were riding fantastic, so I had to work hard. I tried to slow them up through Magherabuoy to get the jump on them on the way out and that allowed me to open a bit of gap, which obviously proved crucial.”

Alastair Seeley celebrates victory in todays Superstock race. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

The first race saw Irwin involved in a great battle with Davey Todd, Alastair Seeley, Dean Harrison and Michael Dunlop, with Todd ended the opening lap in the lead. Dunlop led over the line the following lap, but would retire from the race on lap three.

Seeley also had to retire, leaving Irwin, Todd and Harrison to battle it out for the win. Irwin was leading when the red flags were waved following an incident at Black Hill, with the results taken from the positions at the end of lap three.

This meant that despite being ahead on the circuit, Harrison was dropped back down to third behind Todd, who was classified 0.636s behind the winner. Veterans Michael Rutter and John McGuinness completed the top five.

The second Superbike race was halted on two occasions following separate incidents for James Hillier and Mike Browne. Following the crash for Hillier, Irwin entered a four-rider battle for the lead with Dunlop, Seeley and Harrison.

Irwin led after lap one but was soon overtaken by Seeley, however Irwin had retaken the lead and pulled a lead of over a second when the red flags were waved once more on the penultimate lap.

Davey Todd on his way to win the Supersport Race. Photo: Tim Keeton/Impact Images

A nervy wait followed for the Irwin, but he was eventually declared the winner of the race. He now has eight consecutive victories at the NW200, winning on Kawasaki, Ducati and Honda machinery.

“I’ve got to say a big thanks to Paul Bird and the team for giving me such a great package and it’s just great to win in front of my home crowd again,” Irwin concluded.

Seeley and Harrison completed the podium, with Dunlop and McGuinness completing the top five. Todd was unable to start the race due to bike issues. FHO Racing’s Josh Brookes and Peter Hickman were absent from both races following their controversial departure earlier in the week.

Hillier’s crash came at Juniper Chicane and he was transported to hospital, however a post on his social media Sunday evening confirmed that nothing was broken, and that he’s “bruised and sore.” Browne was reported as having minor injuries.

Richard Cooper leads Saturday's Supertwin race

Double’s up

Seeley, Todd and Richard Cooper all leave Northern Ireland with double class victories to their names. Seeley completed the Superstock double on Sunday after leading from start to finish, and was joined on the podium by Dunlop and Harrison.

Meanwhile, Todd, who was forced to retire in the Superstock race whilst battling for second, clinched the double in the Supersport class. After a thrilling multi-rider battle, Todd crossed the line with an advantage of 0.253s over Cooper.

Hickman completed the podium on his Peter Hickman Performance prepper K2 Trooper Triumph machine, and he also set a new record at 118.273mph. Rutter and Hillier completed the top five.

In the Supertwin class nobody was able to beat Cooper onboard his Kawasaki. He won the delayed opening race by over seven seconds ahead of Paul Jordan and Adam McLEAN, before clinching the double ahead of Jeremy McWilliams and McLEAN later in the day.

Alastair Seeley and Davey Todd celebrated victories on Thursday evening at the 2023 North West 200.

Seeley was victorious in the Superstock race, securing his 28th career victory at the road racing event. On his way to victory, Seeley broke the lap record – recording 124.427mph – and was able to pull away from the pack following a mistake from Todd at Mather’s Chicane.

The SYNETIQ BMW rider was over 10 seconds clear when the race came to a premature end following a crash for Nathan Harrison at Dhu Varren. The Honda Racing UK racer sustained minor injuries according to event organisers.

Todd bounced back from his mistake, coming out on top in a battle with Michael Dunlop. The latter completed the podium, whilst Dean Harrison and Michael Rutter were fourth and fifth respectively.

Moments prior to the start of the race, FHO Racing BMW’s Josh Brookes and Peter Hickman were informed that they had been disqualified from the race. This was due to the team’s use of carbon wheels on the BMW M1000 RR, which are not permitted in the regulations. The decision led to the team withdrawing from the entire event.

Davey Todd leads Alastair Seeley at the 2023 North West 200

Earlier in the evening, Todd clinched victory for Milenco by Padgett’s Honda onboard his CBR600. A thrilling race saw the lead change hand multiple times, with Richard Cooper crossing the line in the lead for the opening three laps.

Dunlop led over the line on lap four, whilst Seeley recorded a new lap record – 118.066mph – onboard his Ducati V2. That lap saw the Superstock race winner lead heading onto the final lap.

However, it was Todd who came out on top by a mere 0.1s, with Seeley and Richard Cooper completing the podium. Dunlop, Harrison and Peter Hickman complete the top six, which was covered by just over a second.  

During the qualifying session for the Supersport race, Lee Johnston crashed at Church Corner and was taken to hospital via air ambulance. It was later confirmed by event director Mervyn Whyte that Johnston has sustained non-critical injuries.

Johnstone was one of the favourites for the Supersport race and currently has five NW200 victories to his name.

The Supertwin race, due to take place following the conclusion of the Superstock event, was cancelled and has not yet been rescheduled. Johnstone was one of the favourites for the Supersport race and currently has five NW200 victories to his name.