Davey Todd came out on top of a thrilling battle in the opening Supersport race at the North West 200 on Thursday evening, the Milenco by Padgetts Honda man getting the better of Alastair Seeley at the flag.
A classic that went down to the wire, long time leader Richard Cooper (BPE by Russell Racing Yamaha) completed the podium behind the Powertoolmate Ducati Panigale V2 rider. It is Todd’s second victory at the event having won a wet 600cc race in 2019.
Perfect conditions greeted the riders as the race initially got underway at 6.05pm and it was pole man Seeley who got the drop off the line although it was Todd who led into York Corner from Peter Hickman (K2 Trooper Triumph by PHR) and Mike Browne (Burrows by RK Racing Yamaha); however, the red flag was out shortly afterwards as two riders came to grief at the Mill Road Roundabout.
After a delay of almost an hour, the 6-lap race resumed at 7pm and Seeley again got away from the line first, but Todd again nipped up the inside at York with Cooper in third ahead of Hickman, Conor Cummins on the second Padgetts machine and Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Yamaha).
Cooper grabbed the lead on the run to University with Todd, Seeley and Hickman in hot pursuit but by the Metropole, Todd was back in front from Cooper and Hickman.
As they completed the opening lap, the order was Cooper, Todd Hickman, Dunlop, Seeley and Harrison with Adam McLean (JMcC Roofing Yamaha) in seventh and the group had pulled some five seconds clear of the chasing pack which was led by Cummins from Jeremy McWilliams (Wilson Craig Racing Honda) and Paul Jordan (PreZ Racing Yamaha).
Cooper continued to lead the way on lap two, but it was still close with Hickman now in second ahead of Dunlop as Todd dropped back to fourth. Dunlop was up to second by the end of the lap though as he got by Hickman as they entered the Juniper chicane.
The front seven were covered by just 1.4s after the first two laps with new eighth-placed rider McWilliams now more than 14s in arrears and halfway round the third lap, Todd was back up to third having overhauled Hickman on the brakes into University.
As they started the fourth lap, Cooper and Dunlop had pulled a small gap over Todd, Seeley, Hickman and Harrison with McLean still in seventh but beginning to lose touch. Back at the front though and although Cooper continued to hold sway, positions behind were changing regularly with Dunlop shuffled back to fifth by the time they reached York Corner.
Dunlop fought his way back into the lead by the time they reached the Metropole though and starting the penultimate lap, the running order was Dunlop, Cooper, Todd, Seeley and Harrison with Hickman now struggling to stay in contact in sixth. Indeed, he was now 2.3s adrift of Dunlop. McLean was on his own in seventh and it was now Jordan in eighth, half a minute behind the race leader.
Cooper was back in front on the high-speed run to University and Todd pushed Dunlop back another spot at the Mather’s Cross chicane but any of the top five were in with a chance of the victory as they started their final lap.
Seeley now led from Cooper, Todd, Dunlop and Harrison but it was all change at University as Todd took over from Cooper and the Honda man still held the advantage at the Metropole. And as the pack behind him squabbled for position, Todd looked to have edged clear.
They were all bunched back up by the Juniper chicane though but Todd held on to win by 0.108s from Seeley, Cooper, Dunlop, Harrison and Hickman with only 1.1s covering them at the chequered flag.
McLean took a solid seventh with Jordan getting the verdict for eighth from Hickman’s team-mate Pierre Yves Bian and Cummins.