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2017 NW200: Rookie Irwin takes titanic North West 200 win

Superbike class rookie Glenn Irwin put in a stunning ride to win the feature Superbike race at the North West 200 just holding off the close attentions of Tyco BMW pairing Alastair Seeley and Ian Hutchinson after seven hard fought laps.

Irwin led for the majority of the race and with conditions good all around the Triangle circuit he kept ahead along the coast road on the final lap to get his maiden International road race win by 0.172s.

“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,” said a delighted Irwin. “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 bullshit, that was flat out all the way! I really wanted that one and I’m absolutely delighted.”


Irwin led off the line on the Be Wiser Ducati and had a 0.8s lead at the end of the first lap over Hutchinson, Michael Rutter and Seeley who’d made a sluggish start and initially dropped back to fifth.

Hutchinson nosed ahead at the Mathers Cross chicane but Irwin utilised the top end speed of his Ducati to full effect and was back in front by the time they got to Metropole. By then, it was a five rider battle for the lead with Irwin leading Hutchinson, Seeley, Rutter and Michael Dunlop.

After three laps, Irwin’s lead was just 0.3s and it set the tone for the remainder of the race with Hutchinson strong into Mathers Cross only for Irwin to retaliate immediately.

Heading into the closing stages and the Carrickfergus pairing of Irwin and Seeley had broken away slightly but the latter had a huge moment on the final lap when he drifted onto the grass on the high speed run to University.

However, he was right with Irwin when they got to Metropole and when a backmarker came into play, Seeley seized the initiative to grab the lead. Irwin wasn’t to be outdone though and got better drive out of Black Hill to grab a popular win.

Seeley took a close second with Hutchinson holding off Dunlop and Rutter for third. Dean Harrison eventually took sixth from Martin Jessopp, Peter Hickman, William Dunlop and Derek Sheils.

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