Causeway Chronicle

IRWIN MAKES HISTORY IN THE SUN AT THE 2024 BRIGGS EQUIPMENT NORTH WST 200

A weather forecast for a day of blazing sunshine saw a massive crowd descend upon the north coast on Saturday, May 11 for the principal race day of the 2024 Briggs Equipment North West 200. The race fans didn’t go home disappointed after a day of record-breaking action around the 8.9 mile Triangle course as Glenn Irwin won his 11th consecutive Superbike race to become the event’s most successful premier class competitor.

Irwin had already equalled the tally of nine Superbike wins shared by existing record holders, the late Joey Dunlop and Michael Rutter, during Thursday evening’s Briggs Equipment Superbike race. Victories in both the Anchor Bar and Merrow Hotel and Spa sponsored events on the PBM Hager Ducati during Saturday made it a hat-trick of Superbike wins at this year’s event for the Carrtickfergus rider. Irwin didn’t have it all his own way though with Davey Todd pushing him hard on the Milwaukee BMW in both races.

During the Anchor Bar six lapper Irwin led past the pits on five of the six laps before eventually taking the chequered flag by 0.382 seconds from Todd. Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Honda) finished over 19 seconds behind the winner after over-shooting Magherabouy chicane as Irwin set the fastest lap of the race at 124.854mph.

“Although it feels wrong to take a record from Joey Dunlop, I’m incredibly proud to do it.” Irwin said after clinching a record he had set his sights on brreaking.

“I’ve worked so hard for this and although when I first came here I probably won some races on talent alone, since 2020 I’ve worked my ass off in areas like training, diet and mindset and that’s why I keep winning races. I felt comfortable out there and having sat behind Davey for a couple of laps, I knew where he was strong. Hats off to both him and Michael. I can still go to another level though. It’s my favourite event in the world so to be the most successful Superbike rider ever is special.”

Todd said he was gutted to have lost the race after the Milwaukee TAS Racing squad gave him a bike he thought he should have won on.

“I felt super confident out there and after Thursday’s race I tried something different this time. I led initially but then shadowed Glenn so I could see what he was doing and he was very strong along the coast road. I felt I could have him on the last lap but we came across a backmarker and it’s dangerous when you come across someone going so much slower.”

Irwin’s Superbike domination continued in the Merrow Hotel and Spa event as he made it three wins from three starts on the PBM Hager Ducati at this year’s North West after another tough battle with Todd. This time the leading pair had Honda Racing’s Dean Harrison for company.

Todd led the first two laps past the grandstand before Irwin moved in front at Juniper as the pair continued to duel throughout the six laps. Todd reclaimed the lead at Station but Irwin got his nose in front again at University and held it until the chequered flag, winning by 0.464 seconds from Todd with Harrison a further 2.9 seconds further back to complete his Superbike hat-trick.

Jubilant celebrations duly followed his 11th consecutive NW200 victory in the premier class .

“I love this event.” Irwin smiled.

“To take a hat-trick feels really, really special. I feel on top of my game and love the team so much, every single one of them, so let’s sign the contract for next year now! I’ve worked so hard this season, as have the team, and to respond to the challenges of great riders like Davey and Dean isn’t easy. It was a hard race as the bike jumped out of gear a few times letting Davey get away but when you feel like something’s going to happen, it happens, so I kept believing and kept working hard. Dreams do come true and to win eleven Superbike races at the NW200, and eleven in a row, is awesome. With the hat-trick here and at Oulton Park last weekend, it’s been my best week in racing.”

Peter Hickman also claimed a Saturday double in the Milltown Service Station and JM Paterson Supertwin races, starting from pole position on his Swan Racing Yamaha.

In the opening encounter, Hickman got the better of Richard Cooper (Jack Reid Cars/KMR Kawasaki) 0.489 seconds after a race long battle. Mike Browne claimed his first NW200 rostrum finish after finishing third on a Scott Racing Aprilia by 10.4 seconds from Jeremy McWilliams (IFS/Bayview Paton).

In the second Twins encounter Hickman and Cooper finished first and second again after Hickman dived up the inside of the Nottingham rider at Metropole on the final lap and held on to win by 0.855 seconds. This time it was McWilliams in third, 5.2 seconds behind Cooper with Browne in fourth, 6.1 seconds further back.

The Tides Restaurant Supersport six lapper produced a thrilling battle between Davey Todd and Richard Cooper (Russell Racing/BPE Yamaha) with Michael Dunlop and Mike Browne getting into the mix.

The Englishman steered his Powertoolmate Ducati to victory by just 0.462 seconds after a race long battle with Richard Cooper to claim his second success at this year’s NW200 following his Superstock win on Thursday evening.

Cooper’s teammate, Mike Browne and Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Triumph) had threatened the leading duo before, Todd and Cooper began to open a slight gap on the pair by half race distance. Todd eventually took the chequered flag by 0.462 seconds from Cooper with Dunlop 0.3 seconds further back to complete the podium.

Todd went on to make it a 2024 NW200 hat-trick with a 1.57 second victory in the CP Hire Superstock race on his Milwaukee BMW over runner-up, Peter Hickman on the PHR Performance BMW.

But perhaps the biggest cheer of a wonderful weekend of road racing was reserved for third-placed finisher, John McGuinness. The 52 year old Honda Racing veteran made his debut at the north coast event 30 years ago and has built a huge following amongst Irish race fans during those three decades.

The six lapper was initially red-flagged after a crash at Magherabouy on the opening lap with Todd getting the hole-shot in the restart. McGuinness’s Honda Racing team-mate, Dean Harrison pushed the Milwaukee BMW rider hard before Todd opened a 0.8 second gap by half distance with Hickman holding third from James Hillier (WTF Honda) and McGuinness in fifth. Hillier and McGuinness were battling for fourth spot when Harrison retired and McGuinness inherited the final podium position.

As the huge crowds that had lined the coast road throughout a race week of sunshine began to head home, Glenn Irwin was declared the Man of the Meeting, winning the Robert Dunlop trophy. He also received a cheque for £6000 as the winner of the Milwaukee Superbike Challenge.

The Around a Pound sponsored top newcomer was South Africa’s, Allann John Venter and Erno Kostamo received the Ramore Restaurant Best Overseas competitor award. The Station Bar Best Team trophy went to Milwaukee BMW as Peter Hickman received the Spirit of the North West 200 award which was sponsored by Domino’s Pizza in memory of the late Daley Mathison. 

PACEMAKER BELFAST. 11/05/2024 North West 200 Superbike NW 200 Race 11/05/2024
Glenn Irwin wins the North West 200 during this this afternoons North West 200.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Glenn Irwin (Hager PBM Ducati) won an enthralling Anchor Bar Superbike race from Davey Todd (Milwaukee BMW) at the Briggs Equipment NW200 on Saturday. Photo by Rod Neill/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Press 11-5-24 North West 200 – Milltown Service Station Supertwin Race
Peter Hickman – Swan Racing Yamaha and Richard Cooper – Jack Reid Cars Kawasaki during today’s Milltown Service Station Supertwin Race at the North West 200 in Portrush, Co Londonderry. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Rod Neill/Pacemaker Press 11/05/24: Davey Todd (Powertoolmate Ducati) won the Tides Restaurant Supersport race at the Briggs Equipment NW200 on Saturday. Photo by Rod Neill/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST. 11/05/2024 North West 200 Superstock Race 11/05/2024
An emotional John McGuinness at his 30th North West 200 is delighted with his 3rd place during this this afternoons North West 200.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Rod Neill/Pacemaker Press 11/05/24: Glenn Irwin (Hager PBM Ducati) won an enthralling Anchor Bar Superbike race from Davey Todd (Milwaukee BMW) at the Briggs Equipment NW200 on Saturday. Photo by Rod Neill/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST. 11/05/2024 North West 200 Supertwin Race 11/05/2024
Peter Hickman wins the Supertwin race during this this afternoons North West 200.
Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Press 11-5-24 North West 200 – CP Hire Superstock Race
Davey Todd – Milwaukee BMW ahead of Dean Harrison – Honda Racing UK and Peter Hickman – PHR Performance BMW during today’s CP Hire Superstock Race at the North West 200 in Portrush, Co Londonderry. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Causeway Chronicle

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