Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Battle rages on with Dunlop and Seeley

William Dunlop and Alastair Seeley were the dominant riders in Saturday’s two Supersport races taking a win each at the Relentless North West 200.

However the day ended acrimoniously as the pair had a coming together on the final lap of the Ballymoney Borough Council sponsored second last race.

After rubbing fairings, shoulders and handlebars through Church Corner on the sixth and final lap as they encountered a slower rider, Dunlop was forced wide as Seeley made a hard aggressive move to take the lead, before going on to win by 1.3secs.

In the heat of the moment Dunlop refused to shake Seeley’s hand afterwards while Seeley failed to appear alongside William on the hospitality marquee stage to be interviewed by MC Adrian Logan as he did after every other race.

Quizzed about the incident in which he felt Seeley was guilty of ‘dirty riding’ Dunlop said: “It was a hard move, yes I hesitated momentarily when we came across the back marker and left the tiniest of gaps. I was just unhappy with the nature of the pass.

“He lifted me up as we entered the corner and forced me off-line with the possibility of me crashing into the wall.”

Dunlop did admit however: “He deserved to win after capitalising on my mistake.”

Seeley said on stage after his final Superbike race win: “It wasn’t dirty riding at all. There was a bit of close contact, but I didn’t push him. I don’t know if it was elbows or handlebars, but it is part and parcel of racing and William knows that.

“His bike was slightly faster than mine and I intended to hang in there along the Coast Road towards Juniper, but I saw he was hesitant with the back marker and took the opportunity. We had a bit of fairing rubbing and I managed to get through to take my first win of the day after three second place finishes, simple as that.”

Dunlop had won the opening McKendry Fabrication Supersport encounter, stopped with a lap to go following a huge crash from which Lincolnshire ace Guy Martinwas lucky to walk away.

This was William’s third North West 200 win, but his first on a four-stroke and the first international win for sponsor Wilson Craig.

Seeley had closed right up on Dunlop, who had led from the first lap, as the pair started the final circuit, but with the race stoppage the Wilson Craig Honda rider was declared the winner.

A delighted Dunlop said: “It’s great to get that over me. I can enjoy the rest of the day now.”

His joy was short lived, however, as he crashed out of the following EventServ Superbike race at Ballysally and injured his ankle, although this did not stop him riding in that intense second Supersport event.

On his return from a hospital check-up, Dunlop said: “It is not too serious; nothing more than ligament damage though it may keep me from riding at Snetterton BSB this weekend.

“We’ll rest it for a couple of days and see what it’s like, but it won’t stop me taking part in the first TT practice session next Monday evening. Nothing would keep me from being at the TT.”