Road Race Rankings: NW200 sees seven winners in seven races
The 90th Anniversary International North West 200 Road Races, round three of the Duke Road Race Rankings Championship 2019, was certainly a meeting of contrasts. Thursday saw conditions perfect for fast exciting racing – Saturday totally the opposite, not only did the weather gods do their best to stop the meeting, but outside incidents also joined in. However, with the resilience the Coleraine Club has built up over eight decades saw them persevere, with only the feature North West 200 Superbike Race failing to get away due to the deteriorating conditions.
In perfect conditions on Thursday evening, Lee Johnston took the opening race honours, the Tides Restaurant Supersport. Peter Hickman claimed the winner’s laurels in the Bayview Hotel Superstock race before a piece of history was made when Italian Stefano Bonetti won the MCL Insure Teach Supertwin race becoming the first Italian to win a race on the 8.970-mile Triangle Course.
Saturday dawned wet and miserable with racing due away at 10.15am an attempt to get away soon afterwards proved unsuitable after spills on the warm-up laps. Add to the mix a number of non-race incidents and worsening conditions, the days racing was on the verge of being cancelled, however just prior to 3.00pm after a number of course inspections with riders, the Supersport race, sponsored by The Junction Retail & Leisure Park saw Davey Todd take his maiden North West 200 win on his Padgett's Honda.
The Anchor Bar Superbike race was won by Glenn Irwin, 0.163 of a second from James Hillier, both on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki machines ending the marques 42 year wait for a Superbike win on the Triangle course!
The third race of the day, the J M Paterson Supertwin race saw Jeremy McWilliams take the chequered flag, with James Hillier taking his first North West 200 victory in the CP Hire Superstock race with a 3.260 second advantage over newcomer Richard Cooper. With the riders on the grid for the feature race, the weather once again closed in and the decision was taken to cancel the race in the interests of safety.
The top four in the 2019 Duke Road Race Rankings remain unchanged, although first, second and third have increased their points total.
Current Champion, Derek McGee didn’t have the best of starts to his North West campaign with two DNF’s in two races on the Thursday, the Mullingar man took second in the Supersport race on the Saturday and set the fastest lap, in his only ride, increasing his points advantage to 328 over second position man, Derek Sheils, who has an 85 point lead on Michael Sweeney in third.
Adam McLean remains in fourth despite him being a non-starter at the North West 200, due to his spill at the previous round, the Tandragee 100.
The first of 14 new entries appear in fifth spot with James Hillier coming having attained a total of 233 points.
Paul Williams slips one position from fifth to sixth, as does Classic only man, Barry Davidson from sixth to seventh.
The top ten is completed by another three new entries, Glenn Irwin, Davey Todd and Michael Rutter.
The other ten ‘newbies’ are Jamie Coward 16th; Lee Johnston 17th; Richard Cooper 19th, 2016 & 2017 Champion Dean Harrison 25th, Conor Cummins 27th, Paul Jordan 29th, Christian Elkin 31st, James Chawke, Michael Dunlop and Peter Hickman - 33rd, 34th & 35th.
The next three rounds are all in the Isle of Man, firstly the Blackford’s Pre-TT Classic Road Races, the Isle of Man TT Races and the Colas Post TT Road Races.