COMMENT: Sun-drenched North West 200 will take some beating

The 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 was something special.
The 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 was something special.

Saturday’s sun-baked Vauxhall International North West 200 will take some beating.

Blessed with glorious conditions on the beautiful North Coast, huge crowds were treated to the best racing spectacle around the famous 8.9-mile Triangle course since the turn of the millennium.

Event Director Mervyn Whyte and his dedicated team of volunteers deserve the utmost credit for running the first major international road race of the year like clockwork.

It was a day that will live long in the memory as Carrickfergus men Glenn Irwin and Alastair Seeley shone brightest of all.

The red-hot action never relented as all five races on the main bill provided a sensational showcase of real road racing at its redoubtable best.

Take a bow Glenn Irwin, whose imperious double on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati evoked fond memories of World Superbike king Carl Fogarty’s famous brace on the Moto Cinelli machine 25 years earlier.

Fogarty was on hand to witness the 28-year-old writing his own piece of North West history as he became the first rider since Steve Plater in 2006 to seal a dream Superbike double.

‘Wee Wizard’ Seeley, too, covered himself in glory.

The 38-year-old is a class act at the North West and was simply unstoppable in the Supersport races on the EHA Yamaha, running away with Saturday’s race to cap a double of his own.

Seeley added a Superstock triumph for good measure on the Tyco BMW to increase his record tally of wins to 24.

He was named the Man of the Meeting, receiving the Robert Dunlop trophy from the road racing legend’s wife Louise.

It may have been long overdue, but this year’s North West 200 truly lived up to the hype.