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2023 North West 200 | Richard Cooper redeemed with dominant Supertwin victory

Tim Keeton/Impact Images

Richard Cooper avenged the disqualifications of twelve months ago as he claimed a redemptive victory in the opening Supertwin race at the 2023 North West 200.

Under sunny skies at The Triangle, the KMR Kawasaki rider set a new lap record to see off the challenge rivals, Cooper taking the flag more than seven seconds ahead of Paul Jordan (PreZ Racing Kawasaki), who snatchedsecond from Adam McLean (JMcC Roofing Kawasaki) on the final lap.

With the Supertwin race having already been pushed back from Thursday evening to join Saturday's busy schedule, it at least meant the bikes lined up on the grid under sunny skies.

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From the off, Jeremy McWilliams, Cooper and McLean made the early running with McWilliams leading into the Mather’s Cross chicane on the opening lap but both Jordan (PreZ Racing Kawasaki) and Joseph Loughlin (G2-Tech Kawasaki) fell foul on the brakes and had to take to the slip road.

At the end of the lap, it was Cooper who led, having overtaken McWilliams on the way into the Juniper chicane. With his advantage 0.342s. McLean still sat in third ahead of Christian Elkin (RB Engineering Kawasaki), Michael Sweeney (Team ILR Paton), Peter Hickman (PHR Performance Yamaha), Stefano Bonetti on the second Team ILR machine, Brian McCormack (Global Robots Aprilia), Jordan and Loughlin.

Second time around and the running order remained the same at the Magic Roundabout only for McWilliams to out-brake Cooper at the Mather’s Cross chicane and all the time McLean was keeping a watching brief in third.

The gap between the trio was just 1.1s as they started their third lap and Hickman and Bonetti had moved up to fourth and fifth respectively, but the red flag came out shortly afterwards due to an incident at Dhu Varren involving Sweeney who was transferred to hospital by ambulance as a pre-caution.

Pacemaker Press Belfast. 14th May 2023. Photo Tim Keeton/Pacemaker Press Richard Cooper Leeds into York corner on lap 1 on his Kawasaki in the Super twins race

Red flag forces four-lap sprint to flag

Re-run over the full four laps, Cooper grabbed the holeshot only for McLean to nose ahead at Station but this time it was a four-rider battle at the head of the field with Jordan now also involved. Three abreast coming into Metropole, Cooper was back in front but by the time they reached the start line the order was McWilliams, Cooper, McLean and Jordan – who had a near high-side coming out of the Metropole – with Hickman running in fifth some three seconds adrift.

McLean re-took the lead at the Mather’s Chicane and although it looked as if Jordan was being dropped on the straights, he was able to close in on the brakes each time. However, Cooper put in a spurt along the coast road and his lead was up to 1.3s as they started the third lap. Hickman was running in a lonely fifth with Loughlin and McCormack battling for sixth.

Cooper really got his head down on lap three and, aided by a new lap record of 4’47.677s (112.251mph), his advantage shot up to seven seconds, so all eyes fell on the battle for second with McLean leading the way from McWilliams and Jordan going into the final lap.

As expected, positions changed regularly and whilst Cooper was able to cruise across the line, a final lap sort out along the coast road saw Jordan come through to second ahead of McLean with McWilliams dropping back to fourth after a trip through the gravel trap at the Juniper chicane.

Hickman took a solid fifth with Loughlin crossing the line in sixth as McCormack went out on the final lap. Kris Duncan, Emmet O’Grady, Jamie Williams and Ameerican newcomer Cory West rounded out the top ten

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