Glenn Irwin again delivered some mercurial performances at Saturday’s International North West 200 and although he didn’t win all three of his races, which he believed possible, his two Superbike wins made it six victories in a row in the class, the first time anyone’s achieved such a feat.
The Honda Racing rider followed up his pole position with two record-breaking wins, only a retirement in the Superstock race, where he’d also qualified on pole, blotting his copybook, although he was perhaps made to work harder than he would have liked by both Davey Todd and Richard Cooper.
Indeed, Todd’s challenge lasted the entire six laps in the opening Superbike race and was leading going into the Metropole on the final lap before running wide. Irwin’s winning margin was just a quarter of a second while he also experienced a few issues with the Honda Fireblade.
“It was a tough race and a couple of things weren’t working as well compared to Thursday,” he explained. “It felt like there was a bit of glazing on the rear brake as I couldn’t keep the front wheel down at Black Hill or coming out of University but I knew the Honda Fireblade would be a good machine on the roads and a one-two today has proved that.
“It was a fun race, and we were riding hard and very close but Davey’s one of my best mates in the paddock so I knew it would be clean. I let off the brakes as late as I dare at the Metropole and knew he wouldn’t make it so took my chance.”
The meeting ended on a bit of a damp squib from a spectating viewpoint with a faulty batch of Dunlop tyres meaning the majority of those supported riders withdrew from the feature seven-lap NW200 Superbike race at the end of the day.
That meant only nine riders started in the first wave but that was of little concern to Irwin and whilst the quantity was low, the quality wasn’t and Cooper pushed him so hard, the duo lapped quicker than what they had done in the first race. With a fastest lap of 124.656mph, only a fraction outside Peter Hickman’s lap earlier in the day, even Irwin admitted he was on the limit.
“Riding on the roads is different to the short circuits as you brake upright, you don’t trail brake and you’re steady on the gas, using the fat part of the tyre but we were perhaps right on the limit today.
“The level today was sky high, and I tip my hat to every rider. No one’s slow. But what a feeling to win two races again. This is such a special place to me and whilst it helps being local, I just love racing at home. I crave for this moment at the end of a Saturday every year at the NW200.”