Davey Todd made it two Supersport wins from two at the North West 200 as he came out on top of a thrilling six-rider battle in Saturday’s six-lap race.
First across the line with a winning margin of just 0.2s, Todd edged out Richard Cooper on the BPE by Russell Racing Yamaha in second, with Peter Hickman third on the K2 Trooper by PHR Triumph.
Alastair Seeley (Powertoolmate Ducati) grabbed the holeshot from pole position, but Todd nosed ahead at York Corner only for Cooper to steal the advantage through the high-speed Station Corner and it was five abreast on the run to University with Dean Harrison on the second BPE Yamaha and Hickman also involved.
Drama unfolded at the Mather’s Cross chicane though as Cooper ran straight on and had to take the slip road, dropping to the bottom of the top ten as a result. Jamie Williams also went straight on and, failing to stop, was hit with a ten second penalty.
By the time they got to the start and finish, the running order was Hickman, Todd, Seeley, Hickman and Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Yamaha) with Hickman’s advantage 1.3s. Cooper had regrouped and was back up to seventh.
Lap two saw Seeley put in a brave move on Todd at Station and together with Harrison, they reeled Hickman back in by the time they reached the Magic Roundabout and Seeley took the lead from the Triumph rider going into the Magherabuoy chicane.
It was all change by the time reached the Metropole though with Todd in front and it was now a six-rider battle for the lead – Todd, Seeley, Hickman, Harrison, Cooper and Dunlop. McLean was running on his own in fifth, five seconds further back with Paul Jordan (PreZ Racing Yamaha), Mike Browne (Burrows by RK Racing Yamaha) and Jeremy McWilliams (Wilson Craig Honda) battling for eighth.
Seeley took the lead again at Station on the third lap and by the time they reached University, Dunlop looked to be losing touch slightly in sixth, certainly along the straights. However, by the time they came along the coast road, there was still only 1.3s covering the top six, Todd back in front through the Juniper chicane.
Lap four and Todd still held on along the run to University with Cooper now in second from Hickman, Seeley and Harrison with Dunlop clinging on in sixth as he continually made time up on the brakes.
Todd ran slightly wide at the Metropole which allowed Cooper to nip through and as they started the penultimate lap, the running order was Cooper, Todd, Seeley, Hickman, Harrison and Dunlop. McLean was now 18s further back with another 10s to the battling Browne and Jordan.
Cooper held onto his advantage throughout the fifth lap, his lead over Todd three tenths of a second going into the final lap, with Hickman now in third after setting a new lap record of 118.273mph. Seeley was out of it though having ran straight on at the Juniper Chicane and he was now more than six seconds adrift in sixth.
Todd was back in the lead at University with Cooper, Hickman and Harrison right in his wheel tracks but he was continually the stronger on the brakes and although Cooper went into the lead at Metropole he ran wide. Todd needed no second invitation and dived back up the inside.
Cooper wasn’t done yet and nosed ahead alongside on the coast road but Todd used his superior braking to get the lead into Juniper and got the verdict at the flag by 0.253s with Cooper, Hickman and Harrison all within half a second of the race winner.
Dunlop was five seconds adrift in fifth as Seeley took sixth to wonder what might have been whilst McLean held on for a lonely seventh with newcomer Browne getting the verdict over Jordan for eighth. Joseph Loughlin completed the top ten, just ahead of newcomer and former World Endurance Champion Matthieu Lagrive.