Belfast Telegraph

Todd eventually prevails after longest race in 90-year history

 

By Roy Harris

It will go down as the longest race ever in the 90-year history of the North West 200.

Incredibly it took five exasperating hours to complete the opening Supersport race that finally ended in a first international road race win for Cleveland’s Davey Todd.

Between the scheduled 10.15am start and 3.27pm finish, it took three attempts to get the six-lap race going after Daley Mathison and then David Murphy stepped off at Black Hill and James Hillier got lucky when he almost high sided, losing both wheels, the kerb protectors preventing what would have been a nasty accident.

In the event, an oil spill led to the first red flag.

Repairs to trackside power lines caused further delay after a brush with a helicopter coming in to land at Magherabouy.

Then, on the first lap of the second start, Alastair Seeley’s EHA Yamaha engine went bang in a cloud of smoke on the approach to University and Derek McGee, thinking he was stopped, almost eased him into a kerb as the Carrick rider took to the slip road and then Victor Lopez crashed at Black Hill to bring out the red flags for a second time.

Cleaning up operations followed and, when the third start arrived, only five of the original 21 starters from the first group were on the grid with McGee on row three effectively on pole.

The race ran over the scheduled six laps and McGee, Davey Todd, Conor Cummins and Paul Jordan produced a spectacle considering the conditions.

Todd, in only his second North West appearance, led for two laps before McGee took the lead on the brakes into University only for Todd to retake the lead at Mathers Chicane.

It was nip and tuck between Todd, Cummins and McGee with Jordan just a second and a half behind the trio on his borrowed Logan Racing Yamaha.

Todd took a 0.8 second lead into the final lap. McGee hit back at Mathers Chicane and took second from Cummins, but could not dislodge Todd from first.

The final race of the day for Superbikes saw competitors completing a warm-up lap, but with fading light and a wet track, the right decision was to cancel the race. Hillier said: “I did the sighting lap to see what the conditions were like. I have a big week coming up at the TT and I have had a great North West. I didn’t want to take any chances.”

• Seven-time world champion Marc Marquez increased his lead at the top of the MotoGP standings with victory for Honda in the French MotoGP at Le Mans.

The 26-year-old Spaniard, who started on pole, finished almost two seconds ahead of Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso on a Ducati.

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