JAMES Cowton powered through a three-way Supertwin battle with Jeremy McWilliams and Joey Thompson to bag his first North West 200 win.
The McAdoo Racing Kawasaki rider beat the two podium men in the final few corners on the last lap, passing both in two successive bends as he stole the win.
It was once again a five-way battle at the front from the start as Cowton got the holeshot, but McWilliams was soon out front as Adam McLean, race one winner Martin Jessopp and Joey Thompson scrapped it out just behind.
Team ILR’s Thompson led McLean, McWilliams and Cowton over the line on the first lap, but Jessopp soon lost touch and retired moments later.
Cowton then moved through to the front as he led KMR Kawasaki man and former race winner McWilliams, with McLean and Thompson not far behind.
But Roy Hanna Motors’ McLean dropped out on the third lap as it became a three-way fight to the finish.
Thompson powered the Paton S1R out front as he led onto the coast road on the final lap, but McWilliams ran wide at the Juniper Chicane, allowing Cowton to slip through before he made a brave move on Thompson, forcing the Paton over the curb.
Cowton crossed the line to take his first win 0.602s clear of McWilliams, with Thompson just 0.865s further adrift on the final step of the podium.
“It’s been a few years coming,” Cowton said. “After the race on Thursday I was so disappointed but this just makes you more determined.
“It was a bit close between me and Jeremy – the Paton is quick but it can’t go around corners. He made a mistake coming out of the corner and I managed to take the lead.
“It’s absolutely mega, I’m over the moon. I can’t fault the bike at all and it sets us up well for going to the TT.”
*Image: Rod Neill/Pacemaker Press