Irwin's 'greatest achievement' as he makes NW200 history

"That's how powerful humans are. You can write your own destiny if you put the work in."

After breaking the record for the number of Superbike victories at the North West 200, Glenn Irwin was in a philosophical mood.

The PBM Ducati rider is no stranger to tasting success at his home road race on Northern Ireland's north coast, but compared to the highly-emotional showdown with Alastair Seeley 12 months ago, Irwin was in a more reflective state.

Earlier on Saturday, he had surpassed Michael Rutter and the late, great Joey Dunlop for the number of victories in the class, something he said "meant a lot".

In the final race of the day, the feature Superbike race, Irwin held off the challenge to complete his Superbike treble ahead of Davey Todd, who was so impressive with a hat-trick of wins and second-places across the week.

"It's really, really special," Irwin added. "When I tell people that I feel on top of my game, an abundance of clarity and happiness in my life, my love for the team - I have worked so hard, and so have the team.

"It's so hard to explain, but when you feel like something is going to happen in life, it happens.

"It can also be negative, like it was to me for a long time. But to anyone listening, never give up and keep believing in your dreams, they come true."

The treble at the North West 200 followed a hat-trick of wins in the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park, which vaulted him to the top of the standings.

"To come and respond to such a great rider like Davey, and Dean [Harrison, who finished third on his Honda Superstock] is pushing so hard, it hasn't been easy and the guys are riding so hard.

"Eleven wins in a row is cool. But a treble at Oulton Park in the British Superbikes, and a treble here - that's my greatest achievement in racing."

Having elevated himself above legends of the sport such as Dunlop and Rutter in the NW200 record books, Irwin said:

"I didn't know what I'd do if I won 11 races in a row, I'm quite a strong personality.

"I said no to the [Isle of Man] TT, and I'll never, ever be back there, and before the race I was thinking that about here. But I love this event, I love this place."

McGuinness ends drought on 30th anniversary

While Irwin got the headlines that he has been so accustomed to in the final race of the event, the cheer of the day belonged to John McGuinness, who ended his 12-year podium drought with a hugely popular Superstock rostrum.

While Todd, Dean Harrison and Peter Hickman charged away out front, McGuiness was embroiled in a battle for fourth with old sparring partner James Hillier.

However, that became a battle for the final spot on the podium when Harrison retired with two laps remaining, and it was his Honda team-mate McGuinness who took advantage of a back marker late in the lap to dart around Hillier and take the chequered flag in third place.

Such was the cheer for the 52-year-old, it could be heard above the remaining Superstock machines that were charging across the line.

"I never thought it would happen again," admitted McGuinness, who has 23 victories at the Isle of Man TT.

"It feels amazing. It's been a long time but I kept fighting and kept sharp. I've still got the hunger, the belly's still got fire in there."

McGuinness, who was also celebrating the 30th anniversary of his debut at the Northern Ireland road race, could hardly believe it as he pulled in the winners' enclosure, and the face of Todd, one of the up and coming stars of road racing, was a combination of joy and bemusement when he realised who had finished in third.

"It's an amazing atmosphere out there, the crowd is incredible," McGuinness added.

"I felt like Joey Dunlop out there, everyone was waving their programmes at me.

"I thoroughly enjoyed the race. I could hear them [the fans cheering]. It means a lot, it's humbling.

"I've been in races with Joey around here and I'd never thought at 52 that I'd be in this area with young fellas like Davey with mullets and looking really trendy.

"I was [emotional]. I get a bit emotional but a lot of effort and thinking goes into it. It really means a lot."