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Glenn Irwin and James Hillier shine at rain-soaked North West

James Hillier (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) receives the Robert Dunlop Man of the Meeting award from fonaCAB International North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils Event Director, Mervyn Whyte, after his 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes at this year's 90th anniversary races. Picture by Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Willis Marshall

Fireworks 'rained' supreme practically at the Fonacab North West 200 at the weekend.

Firstly racing was delayed by almost four hours after heavy rain, then mist, a helicopter hitting powerlines, a telephone pole catching fire, and an oil spill, caused havoc at the event.

At one stage it almost looked like it was going to have to be cancelled altogether.

But somehow Mervyn Whyte and his dedicated staff managed to grit their teeth and carry one with the programme which was diluted with competition due to the inclement weather and track conditions.

But it was the Quattro Plant Kawasaki Team of Glenn Irwin and James Hillier who shone at the North West 200 when both riders took wins in the Superstock and Superbike races.

The day got off to the worst possible start when heavy rain and low mist put the circuit under constant scrutiny.

The Tides Restaurant Supersport 600 race only lasted one lap before the race was stopped when English rider Daley Mathison crashed at Black Hill.

As a result oil was deposited on the circuit leaving a clean up job for the organisers.

With more rain following, the meeting was further delayed by another 30 minutes and then restarted only to be stopped yet again when Alastair Seeley's Yamaha blew its engine on the approach to the University... and Spanish rider Victor Lopez crashed out on the Black Hill section bringing out the red flags.

On the third restart, only five riders set off on the first group of riders with Mullingar's Derek Magee taking the lead from Davey Todd and Conner Cummins with Todd getting past Magee on the fast approach to Coleraine.

These three were joined by Magherafelt's Paul Jordan as they battled away through the rain and mist.

It was Todd however who kept his cool as he took the win by 0.3 seconds from Magee and Cummins with Jordan fourth, Christian Elkin fifth and Joe Loughlin next.

The Anchor Bar Superbike saw almost half the field not starting.

That included Dean Harrison, Ian Hutchinson, Paul Jordan, Lee Johnston, Michael Sweeney, and Derek Magee.

The race itself was another fiery affair this time between Glenn Irwin, James Hillier and Manxman Conor Cummins.

It was Hillier who took the lead at the end of lap one from Irwin and Alistair Seeley on the BeWiser Ducati, but it clear to see early on that Seeley was having trouble with rear grip and by the next lap he had slipped back to fifth place, Cummins moving into fourth.

Hillier looked to have the race in the bag but approaching the final chicane Irwin produced the move of the race and tucked his Quattro Plant Kawasaki under his team-mate to snatch victory by 0.163 seconds from Hillier.

Cummins was just another 1/100th of a second behind Hillier with Sheils fourth Seeley fifth and debut boy Richard Cooper on the Buildbase Suzuki in sixth place.

''That was such an awesome race," said Irwin

"My bike was spinning up everywhere but my team-mate James Hillier was riding out of his skin on a stock bike, which was totally unreal, and to be honest I was not sure that I could get past him going into the final chicane.

"But I just found a little bit of tarmac that my fans must have put there for me and that was just enough to get past, but what a race and a great 1-1 for the Quattro Plant Kawasaki Team."

In the John M Patterson Supertwins Races, again a lot of riders stayed away from the grid with only 15 riders starting the race.

Thursday's Supertwins winner Italian Stefano Benetti only got as far as York corner on lap one, leaving the way clear for Glengormley's Jeremy McWilliams to take his third North West 200 win on the Ryan Farquhar KMR Kawasaki.

McWilliams had a four-lap battle with Christian Elkin, who finished in second place ahead of evergreen Michael Rutter on the second KMR Kawasaki.

The CP Hire Superstock Race turned out to be the best race of the day.

Quattro Plant Kawasaki rider James Hillier raced away to victory over newcomer, Buildbase Suzuki rider, Richard Cooper with Penz3 BMW man Davy Todd in third.

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