Glenn Irwin put in a scintillating ride at the International North West 200 on Saturday to claim the feature Superbike race on the Be Wiser Ducati, gaining his maiden International road race win in the process.
Riding the factory-backed Ducati Panigale R, the 27 year old grabbed the lead off the line and was involved in a terrific five-rider battle for the lead although it was the Carrickfergus rider that led for much of the seven laps.
The Tyco BMW pairing of Alastair Seeley and Ian Hutchinson challenged him the hardest but although they nosed ahead on a couple of occasions, Glenn remained composed and put in a faultless ride to give the Penrith-based team yet another International victory.
Irwin’s only previous other visit to the 8.9-mile circuit came in 2015 in the Supersport class so he was making his first appearance in the Superbike races but the week started well during Tuesday’sopening qualifying session when he placed fifth with a lap of 119.587mph.
However, with glorious conditions on the Causeway Coast once more on Thursday, he laid down a firm marker for Saturday’s two races with a lap of 121.556mph in the final session, which placed him third and on the front row of the grid.
Unfortunately, the weather changed considerably for Saturday’s feature race with rain and then an oil spill combining to cause a lengthy delay. The opening Superbike race was cut to four laps and eventually got underway at 3pm, with tyre choice a quandary for all riders. Glenn soon moved up to third place on the first lap but just as he’d overtaken Ian Hutchinson for second, he ran on at the Mather’s Cross chicane and dropped back to fourth.
A lap later this had become fifth as he was overtaken by fellow BSB rider Peter Hickman and although this looked like it would be his final position, he reeled Hickman in on the final lap to take fourth place at the chequered flag.
Glenn Irwin: “I lost a race along the coast road back in 2015 due to poor positioning so I was determined it wasn’t going to happen again. It’s my favourite part of the circuit but the front was moving around a lot through Black Hill and anyone who says road racing is 90% is talking nonsense, that was flat out all the way! I really wanted that one and I’m absolutely delighted so a big thanks to all the team and the organisers who did a brilliant job and put on a great meeting.”
Phil Borley, Technical Director: “It was a fantastic way to end the weekend and we were all relieved it was a dry race. It was a superb race between Glenn, Alastair and Ian and it’s just great for all concerned that we came away with the win. I think Glenn had decided he was going to win no matter what but he led for the majority of the race but didn’t make any mistakes and thoroughly deserved his win. He used his head in the earlier wet race and being cautious was the sensible thing to do so it’s been a very successful trip to Northern Ireland."