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2023 North West 200 | Irwin declared winner in twice red-flagged SBK feature race

Tim Keeton/Impact Images

BeerMonster Ducati’s Glenn Irwin consolidated his dominance of the North West 200 on a Superbike, clinching his second victory of the day - eventually - to extend his unbeaten streak to eight races

In a feature race stopped twice due to separate crashes involving James Hillier and Mike Browne, Irwin on the Paul Bird Motorsport-run BeerMonster Ducati was declared the winner by just over a second from Alastair Seeley (Milwaukee BMW), Dean Harrison (DAO Racing Kawasaki) and Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Honda).

With race length cut from six to five laps, though Davey Todd was a non-starter on the Milenco by Padgetts Honda in a Superbike already missing the FHO BMWs, a quality field still headed towards Primrose, with Dunlop getting there first from Seeley and Harrison, chased by Irwin in fourth.


The latter took third at Station and then went into the lead at University only for Seeley to get him back as they entered the Magic Roundabout. The front four were already breaking clear of fifth placed Hillier (OMG Racing Yamaha) but as they flashed across the line and started lap two, the red flag came out after Hillier crashed at the Juniper chicane, fortunately without serious injury.

Restarted to run over five laps, Harrison this time led into Primrose and held it through York from Dunlop, Irwin and Seeley. Though Dunlop nosed into the lead after Station, it was Irwin who grabbed the initiative at University with the front four again breaking clear over Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing Honda) running in fifth.

Come the end of the lap, Irwin led by 0.3s from Dunlop, Seeley and Harrison with the quartet covered by 0.9s and John McGuinness now fifth but seven seconds adrift, the Honda Racing legend ahead of Rutter, Browne (Burrows by RK Racing BMW) and Brian McCormack (Roadhouse Macau/FHO BMW).

Up front, both Dunlop and Seeley swept past Irwin on the run to University, with Harrison following suit by passing the Ulsterman as they braked for the right-hander, even if Irwin did grab third back at Mather's Cross.

Seeley still led into lap three with now less than three quarters of a second blanketing the quartet. The four-way scrap continued all the way round lap three, with Irwin surging from third to first at the Mather’s Cross chicane after capitalising on the double slipstream of Seeley and Dunlop to dive up the inside.

Irwin’s lead was just over a second as he started the fourth and penultimate lap with Seeley now in second ahead of Harrison and Dunlop who’d slipped to the back of the pack. McGuinness and Rutter were still running in close company in fifth and sixth, but they were the last to cross the line as another red flag came out, this time after Browne crashed out suffering minor injuries.

After much confusion, the result was eventually declared with Irwin getting yet another Superbike victory, this time from Seeley, Harrison and Dunlop with McGuinness and Rutter completing their successful days in fifth and sixth respectively.

Browne’s crash promoted McCormack up to seventh with Sam West (Moto-Hub.co.uk BMW), Gary McCoy (MadBros Suzuki) and Erno Kostamo (38 Motorsport Syntainics BMW) completing the final top ten leaderboard.

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