Belfast Telegraph

Martin out to topple Seeley in Supersport

By Paul Lindsay

Mar-Train Racing’s Alastair Seeley, a double winner on Thursday night with Supersport and Superstock victories, will start as an obvious on-track favourite in four of today’s five races at the Vauxhall International North West 200.

But fans’ favourite and network TV star Guy Martin fancies his chances of upsetting the formbook in the Supersport class, despite citing the event as ‘just’ a warm up to the upcoming Isle of Man TT Races.

“This is all just a warm up to the TT,” said Martin, twisting his hair and avoiding eye contact in his usual deflective manner. Although sporting his trademark wide mouth grin wasn’t enough to fool me that he was only here for the free cups of tea.

Asked if he was bothered about ever winning a North West, the multiple podium finisher jumped in: “Oh yeah of course I want to win one. We all come here to win races.”

Paying credit to his team he added: “That 600 of mine is mega. Stuart Johnstone, the Tyco Suzuki engine builder, should be knighted for the development of that bike,” he exclaimed, handing out credit to Hector and Philip Neill’s quietly spoken engine guru who built the bike that took him to second place in the middleweight race on Thursday.

Team manager Philip Neill believes it may well have been Guy’s strongest ever performance at the Triangle, out-smarting Josh Brookes for second place — and almost, beating double British champion Alastair Seeley for the top step.

 “Yeah you probably could say that, but I’ve had a fair few podiums here in 600 and had a couple of pole positions.

 “I think I maybe even held the lap record in the class, but it’s a means to an end. If it comes it comes; I’m not going to start making predictions. I’ll always try hard when there is a time and place to do that. If that happens tomorrow yeah ok, but if not, well, there’s always a bigger picture,” said Martin.

In the Supertwin class, Dungannon’s Ryan Farquhar will be hoping his old guard of Keith Amor and Jeremy McWilliams can stand alongside him on the podium after a disastrous opening 650cc race on Thursday night for the KMR/SGS Kawasaki team.

Keith Amor was the stand out performer in the team, despite retiring on the final lap.

Farquhar was the first KMR bike home in sixth place with former GP winner McWilliams two places further back. But with Amor and race one winner Lee Johnston almost two seconds a lap quicker than the field, I’d expect to see them fighting for the victory today.

In the Superstock class it’s hard to look past Seeley and Mar-Train racing, but with the tangible speed of the BMWs on Thursday night, the Carrick man will have his hands full with Dunlop and Rutter — but it’s set to be an absolute cracker.

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