Paul Robinson scored an emotional win as he raced to a superb victory in the McKendry Fabrications 125cc race, 30 years after the death of his father Mervyn in an accident at Mathers Cross during the 1980 North West 200.
This race looked on paper to be a William Dunlop benefit, after being fastest in practice and holding a 2.5sec lead over Robinson at the end of the first of four laps.
However, motorcycle racing is a fickle sport and Dunlop was out of the race at York Hairpin on lap two, suffering gearbox problems with the Delaney Honda, leaving Robinson 1.6secs clear of Chris Palmer with Jon Vincent in third.
Palmer was next to suffer mechanical gremlins with a flat battery on his Honda starting the last lap leaving Robinson to take that elusive win at the North West, 8.6secs clear of Vincent, with Belgian rider Renzo Van der Donckt taking third twelve seconds further back, also his first ever rostrum finish.
For Robinson, who previously recorded five top-six finishes in the 125cc class at the North West, this was a touching moment.
The 35-year old Ballymoney man said: “That wasn’t easy. I was as nervous as anything hoping and praying the bike would keep going on that last lap as it has been giving its fair share of problems all season.
“I remember being here the day my father lost his life and this is a special moment.
“My uncles Joey and Robert Dunlop are top of the all-time winners here, my cousins William, Michael and Sam Dunlop are all racing today, so you can imagine how I feel after winning this race, it has always been a dream that one day I would win around here and at last I have done it.”
Robinson and his Impact Conveyor Parts Honda also had the distinction of recording the new lap record speed of 97.115mph for this particular class.
A terrific battle for fourth saw newcomer Neil Durham edge out Dutch rider Stephan Savelkouls, Sam Dunlop and Nigel Moore seven-tenths of a second covering the four riders as they flashed across the finish line.