Belfast Telegraph

Glenn Irwin the big winner as thrilling rain-hit North West cut short

Glenn Irwin celebrates winning the Anchor Bar Superbike race at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Glenn Irwin celebrates winning the Anchor Bar Superbike race at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Spectators arriving for today's races at the North West 200 (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
Marshalls prepared for the conditions at the North West 200 (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
Spectators arriving for today's races at the North West 200 (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
Dean Harrison at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Event director Mervyn Whyte with Stanleigh Murray, clerk of the course, at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Lee Johnston with Northern Ireland star Stuart Dallas at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Alastair Seeley (34) takes off in the Supersport race at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Alastair Seeley (EHA Racing) leads on the opening lap from James Hillier and Lee Johnston in the Supersport race (Pacemaker Press/Rod Neill)
James Hillier at Black Hill during today's Superstock race at the North West 200 (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
James Hillier and his team celebrate his victory in today's Superstock race at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Jeremy McWilliams celebrates his win in the Supertwins at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Jeremy McWilliams celebrates his win in the Supertwins at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Jeremy McWilliams celebrates his win in the Supertwins at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Teammates James Hillier and Glenn Irwin entertained the crowds in the Superbike race at the NW200 (Rod Neill/Pacemaker Press)
James Hillier leads Glenn Irwin and Conor Cummins at Black Hill during today's Superbike Race at the North West 200 (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
Team-mates Glenn Irwin and James Hillier celebrate their victories at the North West 200 with their team (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Alastair Seeley ahead of Saturday's racing at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Davey Todd leads Derek McGee and Conor Cummins at Black Hill during the North West 200 (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
Davey Todd celebrates his victory in the Supersport race at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
James Hillier leads Alastair Seeley in the Supersport race at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
18/05/19 Pacemaker Press Intl/Rod Neill: Derek McGee (Kawasaki) leads Davey Todd (Milenco Honda by Padgetts) in the red-flagged Supersport race. Photo Rod Neill
Daley Mathison crashes off his machine at Black Hill during the North West 200 (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
David Murphy comes off at Black Hill during the North West 200 (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
Victor Lopez hits the tarmac at Black Hill during the North West 200 (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
Mervyn Whyte inspects the work being carried out at Black Hill during the North West 200 (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
Jeremy McWilliams celebrates his win in the Supertwins with Glenn Irwin at the North West 200 (Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press)
Richard Cooper with Dean Harrison at Black Hill at the North West 200 (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Local man Glenn Irwin was the big winner at the 2019 North West 200 as he won the only Superbike race run on a rain-hit Saturday.

After stupendous weather during the week had riders and fans delighted, the mist and the rain rolled in on Saturday morning and caused havoc with the day's schedule.

Twice the event saw red flags produced, both times during the opening Supersport race, the first of which for an incident involving rider Daley Mathison at Black Hill, then for oil on the track when Alastair Seeley's engine gave out.

That came after the day's racing had been delayed due to the adverse weather conditions, throwing the day into further disarray.

When the rain rolled back in late in the day, it caused the cancellation of the marquee race, the North West 200 Superbike, due to the failing light.

That, by default, made Irwin the big winner of the day having won the first Superbike race, the second of the day, as he dueled superbly with Kawasaki team-mate James Hillier all the way to the finish line before pipping him at the death.

Having started the final lap second, Irwin slipped by Hillier at the Magherabuoy Chicane, only for his team-mate to respond at Metropole. However, with the last throw of the dice, Irwin got him back at Juniper to snatch victory.

Hillier did get plenty of consolation as he dominated from start to finish to win the Superstock race, able to cruise in for the victory by the end from Richard Cooper in second.

The Kawasaki man at one point held a 19 second lead over the chasing pack, such was his dominance, with the real race being who would take the runners-up spot, with newcomer Cooper holding off Davey Todd.

There was an amazing result in the Supertwins race as 55-year-old Jeremy McWilliams finished top of the rostrum, managing to keep just ahead of Christian Elkin right to the finish.

In the first race of the day, Davey Todd came out on top of a severely diluted field in the opening Supersport race as he held off the triple threat of Derek McGee, Conor Cummins and Paul Jordan.

In a thrilling conclusion, the lead changed hands four times in the final lap between Todd, McGee and Cummins, with the former coming out on top at the chequered flag.

The riders had taken to the track for a sighting lap ahead of the North West 200 Superbike race to finish the day, but, when the majority of the field withdrew upon returning to the paddock, the smart decision was taken to call it off.

Relive all the action on our live blog right here, plus click on the main image for a gallery of all the best images from today's action!

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