Richard Cooper dominated the opening Supertwin race at the North West 200 with the JMcC Roofing/KMR Kawasaki rider setting a new lap record on his way to a 8.4s win, his first victory at the event, with Pierre Yves Bian (VAS Engine Racing Paton) and Paul Jordan (PreZacing Kawasaki) taking second and third.
Cooper, making just his second NW200 appearance, got the jump off the line and led the field into York Corner from Bian but coming into University, Michael Dunlop, running in third on the McAdoo Racing Kawasaki, went straight on and dropped to the back of the group.
By the end of the opening lap, Cooper led Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing Aprilia) by 4.6s followed by Bian, Jordan, Jamie Coward (KTS Racing powered by Steadplan Kawasaki) and McWilliams (IFS/Bayview Hotel Paton) although the latter had dropped back after running onto to the grass at the Juniper Chicane. Dunlop, meanwhile, pulled in to retire as did team-mate Adam McLean.
With Cooper well clear at the head of the field, attention fell on the battle for second with Bian, Johnston, Jordan, Coward and McWilliams all running together. By the end of the lap, Bian and Jordan had overhauled Johnston with the trio edging away from McWilliams and Coward.
A new lap record of 4’49.407s (111.580mph) second time around helped Cooper extend his lead to a comfortable 8s but the battle for second was hotting up and halfway round lap three, Jordan had moved up to second with Bian now third and McWilliams fourth. Coward was now up to fifth with Johnston dropping back to sixth.
There was to be no stopping Cooper though and he ran out a clear winner with Bian getting the better of Jordan on the final lap, both riders taking their maiden NW200 podiums.
The battle for fourth went all the way to the line and it was Johnston who came out on top from McWilliams and Coward with Michael Sweeney four seconds further back in seventh. Christian Elkin, Michael Rutter and Peter Hickman completed the top ten.