North West 200: Irwin continues Superbike dominance as rain disrupts racing
Carrickfergus racer Glenn Irwin won his fourth consecutive Superbike race at a rain-disrupted North West 200.
After victory in the opening 'big bike' race, Irwin's chances of completing another double were dashed as the final race of the day was cancelled.
Elsewhere James Hillier claimed his first North West victory in the Superstocks while Davey Todd took his first win in the Supersport class.
The Supertwin race was won by 55-year-old veteran Jeremy McWilliams.
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The opening Supersport race finally got under way at the third attempt, shortly before 15:00 BST, with a severely depleted field.
Water on the track and poor visibility caused a number of teams to withdraw their racers while three separate oil spills and a string of non-racing incidents brought delays early in the day.
The improving weather allowed for four races to take place, although the Superbikes were restricted to four laps instead of their usual seven, but the final race succumbed to the conditions as the light faded around the triangle course.
Team-mates Irwin and Hillier impress as Seeley struggles
Irwin's Superbikes success came after a gripping battle with team-mate Hillier who led the way for much of the four laps on his Superstock.
The Kawasaki duo claimed the top spots on the podium as 24-time North West winner Alastair Seeley fell back after a promising start.
2019 marks the first year that Seeley has failed to claim a race win at the event since making his debut in 2008.
The Carrickfergus racer was unable to contest the Supersports after encountering engine trouble on the opening lap, with oil leaking on to the track causing the race to be red flagged for a second time.
23-year-old Todd overcame Derek McGee to claim his maiden North West victory in the first race of the day while McWilliams held off Christian Elkin to claim his third Supertwins success.
After crashing on Thursday McWilliams had stated that his presence on Saturday was in doubt, however the popular veteran returned to the bike to top the podium with 14-time winner Michael Rutter taking third.
Having narrowly missed out to Irwin in the Superbikes, Hillier wasted little time in asserting his authority on the Superstocks as he surged into a nine second lead after one lap of the race.
He coasted to his first North West win, with the 3.2-second victory over Richard Cooper barely doing justice to Hillier's dominance, with the Englishman slowing down on the final lap to navigate the worsening conditions.
|North West 200 - Junction Retail & Leisure Park Supersport|
|1. Davey Todd||Honda||Time: 29:53.797||Av speed: 107.731mph|
|2. Derek McGee||Kawasaki||29.54.137||107.711|
|3. Conor Cummins||Honda||29.54.137||107.694|
|4. Paul Jordan||Yamaha||29.57.234||107.525|
|5. Christian Elkin||Yamaha||31.13.312||103.158|
|6. Joseph Loughlin||Kawasaki||31.31.845||102.148|
|Anchor Bar Superbike|
|1. Glenn Irwin||Kawasaki||Time: 19:15.350||Av speed: 111.364|
|2. James Hillier||Kawasaki||19:15.513||111.348|
|3. Conor Cummins||Honda||19:15.811||111.319|
|4. Derek Sheils||Suzuki||19:25.192||110.423|
|5. Alastair Seeley||Ducati||19:35.110||109.491|
|6. Richard Cooper||Suzuki||19:50.552||108.071|
|John M Paterson Supertwin|
|1. Jeremy McWilliams||Kawasaki||Time: 20:51.775||Av speed: 102.785|
|2. Christian Elkin||Kawasaki||20:53.078||102.678|
|3. Micharel Rutter||Kawasaki||21:18.329||100.650|
|4. Matthew Rees||Kawasaki||21:33.972||99.433|
|5. Joseph Loughlin||Kawasaki||21:34.420||99.399|
|6. Francesco Curinga||Paton||21.46.008||98.517|
|CP Hire Superstock|
|1. James Hillier||Kawasaki||Time: 29:05.081||Av speed: 110.739|
|2. Richard Cooper||Suzuki||29:08.341||110.532|
|3. Davey Todd||BMW||29:08.468||110.524|
|4. Dean Harrison||Kawasaki||29:16.077||110.045|
|5. Lukas Maurer||Kawasaki||29:56.431||107.573|
|6. Michael Rutter||BMW||30.10.042||106.764|