Belfast Telegraph

Alastair Seeley out to extend his NW200 record following Gearlink deal

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By Paul Lindsay

Vauxhall International North West 200 record holder Alastair Seeley, who currently sits on 17 wins at the Triangle, will be back on the grid this coming May having put pen to paper on a deal with British Supersport Championship outfit Gearlink Kawasaki late last night.

The Carrickfergus ace has lost sleep over the past few agonising months when he was seemingly being overlooked by the leading teams for this year's event. But now that he has the first piece of his north coast jigsaw set in place, he is already targeting more wins to add to his ever-increasing tally.

"I took the record last year with Gearlink when we won both Supersport races and extended my wins to 17, so to have that continuity with a team I know and respect is a big boost for me," said Seeley, who has won nine middleweight races at the NW200 and will be gunning for his third consecutive double in the Supersport class come May.

"The 600cc bikes probably suit my size the best, but I've also won Superbike and Superstock races at the North West and I'm currently working hard at getting a deal in the 1000cc classes."

Seeley, who would like to take his tally to 20 and beyond before he finally hangs up his leathers, continued after signing a deal with Michael and Norma de Bidaph's official Kawasaki UK team: "It's getting harder to win races at the North West these days with the quality of the field, but I need one more podium to equal Phillip McCallen's record of 28 and it would be great to try and grab another double in the Supersport class. Riding for Gearlink, that will give me every chance."

Somewhat baffling for the Carrickfergus ace, who turns 38 this year, is that he is currently out of favour in British Championship circles, despite having won two titles in the UK. On a competitive Supersport machine he would undoubtedly start favourite to land a third crown, but times have changed in an age when currency is king.

"People have asked why I'm not riding for Gearlink in British Championship, and it's quite simple," said Seeley, who is actually considering going back to a normal day job after this year's North West 200 in May. "Michael and Norma need money to run their team, so they have two young riders signed up who will bring budget and I understand that. They put their heart and soul into racing.

"It's a pity that it's not just about talent these days. I consider myself a professional rider and that means I need to earn a wage.

"I've had conversations with a lot of teams and it's basically come to nothing. I have one pending opportunity and if that doesn't come off, I'll be honest - I don't have a Plan B.

"I might have to look at getting a bike and racing at home in the Irish Championship, as I need to make sure I'm sharp for the North West, especially as some of my main rivals like Hutchy (Ian Hutchinson), (Michael) Dunlop and (Peter) Hickman will all be riding regularly in British Championship.

"There are three rounds of BSB before the NW200, but I'd really need to be on one of the bikes I'll be campaigning on the north coast."

In other news, reigning Irish Moto3/125cc champion Adam McLean has announced that he will make his Isle of Man TT debut this June.

The 22-year-old bricklayer from Magherafelt will contest both Monster Energy Supersport races aboard an MSS prepared Kawasaki and the Bennetts Lightweight TT race on the MJ Palmer/Hanna Performance ER6 Kawasaki.

McLean said: "Competing at the TT is something I've always wanted to do and when the opportunity arose I grasped it with both hands. I've already enjoyed going over to the Island to learn the circuit and I'm really looking forward to the challenge."

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