CLEVELAND rider Davey Todd was in magnificent form at last weekend’s International North West 200 in Northern Ireland where he posted no less than four podium finishes, but was cruelly denied a second win to add to the victory he scored in 2019.

With Ireland’s biggest outdoor sporting event missing because of Covid for the past three years, a crowd in excess of 120,000 turned up to line the closed public roads of the picturesque nine-mile Causeway Coast course which links the towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine.

Thursday’s dry practice during the day gave way to rain in the evening for the proposed three races to open the programme but it didn’t faze 26-year-old Todd, from Brotton, who rides for the Batley-based Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles team.

In the opening Supersport race, reduced to four laps, Todd battled with 24-times NW200 winner Alastair Seeley for the duration of the race, only to lose out on the very last lap meaning he had to settle for second place on his Honda. It was virtually a repeat in the Superstock race where again Seeley took the victory with Todd in a fighting second place on his 1000cc Honda.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny for the main race day and immediately, Todd started where he left off on Thursday when he was battling for the lead in the second Supersport race, only this time with another Ulsterman, Lee Johnston. In another thrilling finish, Johnston beat Todd over the line to make it a hat-trick of runner-up places for the former motocross rider.

However, it was in the opening Superbike race where Todd really came of age. Suffering from a stomach upset from something he had eaten earlier and having never ridden the 240bhp Honda Fireblade which the team had only got ready a couple of days before the meeting, he battled at speeds in excess of 200mph but after six fast and furious laps, he had to give way to multiple Superbike winner Glenn Irwin on his factory-supported Honda.

That was as good as it got for Todd as a deflating front tyre ruled him out of the second Superstock race and because of a problem with a faulty batch of tyres from their contracted supplier, which was addressed following a delamination issue in the previous Superbike race, team boss Clive Padgett sensibly withdrew Todd from the final seven-lap North West 200 race.

Their attentions now turn to the Isle of Man TT races later this month where Todd is one of the favourites in the various classes around the 37.75-mile Mountain course.

Meanwhile, at Pembrey in Wales, Northallerton’s Dave Bellerby missed out on the chance of a victory in the BMW MINI Rallycross Championship after taking his joker lap earlier in the race, and losing time behind another car, meaning he couldn’t catch eventual winner Bradley Turner. Ben Sayer, also from Northallerton, used an early joker lap strategy from third position on lap one to climb his way back through the field to secure the final podium spot.

Stockton’s Martin Hawkes claimed the spoils in the All4 Mini category but was the only finisher after David Bell from Ferryhill pulled off mid-final with mechanical troubles.

In the Motorsport UK Supernational Rallycross Championship, eventual winner Jason Bleasdale (Vauxhall VX220) was challenged throughout the final by Northallerton’s Paige Bellerby (Lotus Exige), but she had to settle for second place at the flag.

 Paige Bellerby on her way to second place at Pembrey

Paige Bellerby on her way to second place at Pembrey

Richmond driver James Constantine finished runner-up in the Swift Sport final after a race-long battle with reigning champion Max Weatherley while cousin Luke Constantine, also from Richmond, dropped out of the podium battle on the opening lap and later retired.