The annual Ulster-based event once again attracted over 200 competitors and 100,000 spectators. The infamous triangle public roads circuit covers 8.9 miles and links the coastal towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine on the North Antrim coast.
Northern Irish-based duo Britton and Lougher lined up side-by-side on the third row of the grid for the start of the five-lap Superstock race. Although their Blackhorse Finance-supported CBR1000RR Fireblades remained close throughout the opening lap, Britton’s misjudgement of the Magherabuoy chicane meant that he overshot the corner and was forced to retire from the rest of the race.
In his team-mate’s absence, Lougher rapidly made his way through the closely-knit front-runners to second position. Incredibly, by the Metropole on lap four, he had taken the lead aboard his production-based CBR1000RR Fireblade and remained in position until the chequered flag. This is the County Down-based rider’s eighth victory at the North West 200.
In the first Superbike race of the day, Enniskillen-based Britton propelled to third place aboard the Pirelli-shod Team DMRR Honda Racing CBR1000RR Fireblade. However, a nail-biting battle with Adrian Archibald at the last corner of the six-lap Dewalt Superbike race meant that the 34-year-old had to settle for fourth position.
Lougher – who qualified in a respectable eighth place – had an unlucky start. Unable to pull away from the line quickly, the 38-year-old rider dropped back to 16th position. Despite this, he did manage to make up an impressive nine places and finished the race in a well-earned seventh position.
The Blackhorse Finance-supported Superbike race – the final race of the day – was by far the most gripping. Britton and Lougher treated the spectators to a spectacular showdown, by claiming second and third places respectively. The wet and unpredictable weather conditions did little to hinder Britton and Lougher’s starts, and although the race was red-flagged due to heavy rain on the first lap, the Team DMRR Honda Racing pair remained focussed.
On the restart, Britton effortlessly progressed through the pack from fifth to second place – a position he held for the remaining race distance. Lougher was close behind and the pair ended the race with a double podium result for Team DMRR.
Heavy showers ahead of the five-lap Kennedy Group Supersport race meant that it took place on a predominately wet road surface. Anticipating further unpredictability in the weather conditions, the road racing pair selected full intermediate tyre set-ups for the Team DMRR Honda Racing CBR600RRs.
Despite making another good start, second-placed Britton dropped back to fourth place on the approach to Primrose Hill. However, the Irishman determinedly stood his ground and maintained station all the way to the chequered flag.
Meanwhile, although Lougher was forced to start the first Supersport race from the second group in a lonely 39th position on the grid, he did manage to make up some time on the front-runners and crossed the line in ninth (on corrected time).
It was a similar story in the Ballymoney Borough Council Supersport race as changeable weather conditions presented another difficult tyre choice for the team. Although Britton had another good ride and finished on the second step of the podium, Lougher was unable to complete race distance due to technical problems with the Team DMRR Honda Racing CBR600RR machine.
Ian Lougher: “It’s been a fantastic day overall! The victory on the CBR1000RR Fireblade in the Superstock class is great for Honda and Blackhorse Finance. I wasn’t on form this morning and the results were a bit sluggish to start with, but I’m really pleased with the win and happy with the second Superbike result. It’s been a good day for Team DMRR Honda Racing all round.”
Richard Britton: “I’m over the moon! It’s a great result for Team DMRR Honda Racing – the Hondas were running really well over the challenging North West 200 course. Although we did have one or two problems, our overall result is fantastic – it was great to be up on the podium again!”
Dewalt Superbike Race: 1. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) 26:24.248; 2. S. Plater (Honda-Racing.co.uk) +0.249; 3. A. Archibald (Suzuki) +36.608; 4. R. Britton (Team DMRR Honda Racing) +36.783; 5. B. Anstey (Suzuki) +37.238; 6. M. Finnegan (Honda) +45.246; 7. I. Lougher (Team DMRR Honda Racing) +47.499
Kennedy Group Supersport Race: 1. R. Porter (Yamaha) 24:31.378; 2. C. Ramsey (Honda) +2.976; 3. B. Anstey (Suzuki) + 16.869; 4. R. Britton (Team DMRR Honda Racing) +16.882; 5. J. McGuinness (Yamaha) +30.172; 6. A. Archibald (Suzuki) 38.382; 9. I. Lougher (Team DMRR Honda Racing) +58.857
CP Hire Limited Superstock Race: 1. I. Lougher (Team DMRR Honda Racing) 24:27.097; 2. B. Anstey (Suzuki) +0.109; 3. R. Farquhar (Kawasaki) +5.293; 4. L. Shand (Yamaha) +29.445; 5. D. Robb (Suzuki) 29.619; 6. R. Rainey (Yamaha) +43.484; DNF – R. Britton (Team DMRR Honda Racing)
Ballymoney Borough Council Supersport Race: 1. R. Farquhar (Kawasaki) 24:10.911; 2. R. Britton (Team DMRR Honda Racing) +11.072; 3. R. Porter (Yamaha) + 16.892; 4. K. Doherty (Yamaha) +23.148; 5. M. Finnegan (Honda) +28.578; 6. A. Archibald (Suzuki) +29.115; DNF – I. Lougher (Team DMRR Honda Racing)
Blackhorse North West 200 Superbike Race: 1. B. Anstey (Suzuki) 24:02.227; 2. R. Britton (Team DMRR Honda Racing) +0.949; 3. I. Lougher (Team DMRR Honda Racing) +23.206; 4. M. Finnegan (Honda) + 38.040; 5. G. Martin (Suzuki) +44.565; 6. A. Archibald (Suzuki) + 45.061