North West 200: Late drama clinches it for Seeley
The Clinton Enterprises supersport race was a frantic five-lap affair with seven riders all in contention for the win, the race going down to a final lap out braking duel at Juniper Hill Chicane.
Ian Hutchinson had led for the majority of the race hounded by Keith Amor, John McGuinness, Ryan Farquhar, Guy Martin, Michael Dunlop and Alastair Seeley — never more than a couple of seconds separating them as they raced nose to tail.
Seeley was the man on the move, eighth at the end of lap one the ‘jockey sized’ Relentless Suzuki by TAS rider gradually eased his way into contention and nipped into third at the end of lap three behind Hutchinson and Amor with McGuinness, Martin, Farquhar and pole man Dunlop.
Martin went out on the fourth lap with a blown engine and Farquhar dropped off the pace slightly as the flying quintet at the head of the field headed onto the fifth and final lap, the race outcome decided at the last chicane.
Hutchinson led in, but Seeley rode around the outside with Amor, Dunlop and McGuinness waiting to pick up the pieces if any of the leaders slipped up.
Seeley emerged from the chicane in front holding on around Quarry Hill to take his first ever North West 200 supersport win seven-tenths of a second ahead of Hutchinson with a disappointed Dunlop third for the second year running, Amor fourth and McGuinness fifth — 1.7secs covering the top five riders.
An elated Seeley said: “That was an awesome race and result.
“Once I came through and caught Ian I knew our bikes were much the same, so it was a do or die move on the brakes at Juniper, where I have lost out in the past going for race wins that got me to the front.
“I think I just wanted the win more than the others.”
A dejected Dunlop said: “I struggled from a bad start and it was hectic catching the lads. I don’t care about the podium, I wanted to win the race.”