2022 NW200: Irwin edges Todd for Superbike race-one win| Phil Wain at the North West 200 | TT and Roads
Glenn Irwin’s phenomenal run of Superbike success at the North West 200 continued on Saturday afternoon as he took his fifth straight win. The Honda Racing rider was made to work all the way though by Davey Todd (Milenco by Padgetts Honda) with the gap between the two just 0.253s at the chequered flag.
Richard Cooper (Hawk Racing Suzuki) took third and although all three smashed the outright lap record, it was Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) who claimed the record with a lap of 124.799mph. He was forced to retire though on lap five.
Pole man Irwin made no mistake when the lights turned green and led into York Corner and although he ran wide, he was quickly on the power to maintain his lead over Hickman and Cooper. Todd quickly got up to second and third placed Hickman then ran straight on at University which seemingly ended any hopes of a good result.
Irwin’s lead over fellow Honda rider Todd at the end of the first lap was 0.361s with Cooper in third but already 2.7s adrift. Dean Harrison (DAO Racing Kawasaki) was in fourth ahead of Michael Dunlop on the second Hawk Suzuki with Conor Cummins on the second Padgetts Honda, Josh Brookes (MCE Ducati), Alastair Seeley, out on his Superstock machine, Ian Hutchinson and Michael Rutter completing the top ten. Hickman crossed the line in 17th.
The Honda pairing continued to forge clear second time around but Todd was sticking with Irwin and the difference between the two was just 0.159s as they flashed across the line to start lap three, Todd setting a new outright lap record of 122.663mph.
Cooper remained in third, now 2.9s behind, and although Harrison remained in fourth, Brookes was up to fifth and Hutchinson (Milwaukee BMW) sixth. Hickman was up to 12th but Dunlop was out.
On lap three, Todd moved ahead of Irwin going into York but Irwin was back in front at the Ballysally Roundabout and Hutchinson lost sixth as he ran wide at Metropole, rejoining in ninth.
By the end of the lap, Todd was leading again but Cooper was reeling the two Hondas in and little wonder as he upped the lap record to 123.874mph. Just 1.3s covered the trio and the rest of the top six now read Harrison, Brookes and Seeley with Hickman now eighth, his best lap just a tenth slower than Cooper’s new record.
Lap four saw Irwin take over in the lead once more with another lap record of 124.463mph but Todd was still only two tenths behind although Cooper had dropped back to three seconds in arrears. Harrison and Brookes were still in fourth and fifth but Hickman’s charge continued and he bettered Irwin’s mark with a lap of 124.799mph to move up to sixth. However, his excellent ride ended when he retired at University next time around.
Onto the penultimate lap and Irwin was seemingly putting the hammer down, his lead going into the final lap more than half a second, the biggest it had been all race. Cooper was out of it having dropped six seconds back and Brookes was now fourth with Harrison having dropped out. That put Seeley into fifth and Cummins sixth.
On the final lap, Todd fought back and dived up the inside at Magherabuoy but he ran wide at Metropole and Irwin needed no second invitation, holding on along the coast road to win by a quarter of a second. That meant Todd took his fourth second place of the meeting so far!
Cooper’s fine day continued in third with Brookes having an equally solid ride into fourth. Seeley just got the better of Cummins for sixth, James Hillier did the same over Rutter for eighth and with Hutchinson taking ninth, Manxman Nathan Harrison came through to take an excellent tenth.