Belfast Telegraph

North West 200: Alastair Seeley extends record with three wins in one day

  • Alastair Seeley takes four podium finishes during main Race Day, winning Saturday's Superstock, Superbike and Supersport races
  • Michael Rutter wins Supertwin race
  • Glenn Irwin takes first ever NW200 win in second Superbike race - the last race of the day

Carrickfergus-born Alastair Seeley has claimed his third win of the day at the North West 200 after the Superstock race was red-flagged due to weather conditions and safety reasons on Saturday afternoon.

The race ended after five laps when rain started to fall.

Seeley (37) took the win - his 21th career win at the NW200 - after a close battle with his Tyco teammate Ian Hutchinson. Taking third place on the podium was Michael Rutter with a fastest lap of 4.27.

Earlier Seeley had claimed his second North West 200 win of the day in the first Superbike race with a lap of 4.42, and a lead of 21 seconds.

He was followed by road racing legend Rutter coming in on a time of 4.48.

Making up the podium in third position was Fermanagh's Lee Johnston coming in just 3 seconds later than second position.

Seeley also won the Supersport race with a laptime of 4.43 at the start of the day.

The Dunlop brothers battled it out for second position, with William Dunlop taking the flag in second with a time of 4.46.

His brother Michael took third position, two tenths of a second behind his brother.

Seeley told BBC NI: "I gauged the conditions because they were changing all the time. When guys got past me I made sure I didn't fall too far behind. I used my head then rode smart and then I just got my head down on the last lap."

Meanwhile Rutter took the win in the Supertwin race with a lap time of 5.00.

In second Englishman Dan Cooper was just 3 tenths of a lap slower than Rutter. Taking third place was Thursday night double winner Martin Jessopp with a best lap time of 5.02.

The international Vauxhall North West 200 superbike race was the last race of the day.

It saw Glenn Irwin take his first ever win at the NW200, with a lap of 4.23 in a close battle with Seeley. 

Third position in the last race of the day went to Hutchinson with a lap of 4.23.

Racing was delayed for a time on Saturday due to poor weather conditions.

Saturday Superbike race 2

1. Glenn Irwin

2. Alastair Seeley

3. Ian Hutchinson

4. Michael Dunlop

5. Michael Rutter

6. Dean Harrison

7. Martin Jessopp

8. Peter Hickman

9. William Dunlop

10. Derek Sheils

Saturday Superstock race

1. Alastair Seeley

2. Ian Hutchinson

3. Michael Rutter

4. Lee Johnston

5. Peter Hickman

6. Dean Harrison

7. Horst Saiger

8. Dan Kneen

9. James Hillier

10. William Dunlop

Saturday Supertwin race

1. Michael Rutter

2. Dan Cooper

3. Martin Jessopp

4. Michael Sweeney

5. Marty Lennon

6. James Cowton

7. Christian Elkin

8. Barry Furber

9. Kris Duncan

10. Xavier Denis

Saturday Superbike race 1

1. Alastair Seeley

2. Michael Rutter

3. Lee Johnston

4. Glenn Irwin

5. Peter Hickman

6. Derek Shiels

7. Dean Harrison

8. James Hillier

9. Horst Saiger

10. Ian Hutchinson

Saturday Supersport race

1. Alastair Seeley

2. William Dunlop

3. Michael Dunlop

4. Adam McLean

5. Ian Hutchinson

6. James Hillier

7. Jamie Coward

8. Peter Hickman

9. Martin Jessop

10. James Cowton

Preview: Alastair Seeley revved for records

By Roy Harris

If Thursday evening’s races at the Vauxhall International North West 200 were anything to go by then the tens of thousands who line the 8.97mile Triangle circuit are in for a real treat today, as the world’s best road racers provide the spectacular entertainment.

One cloud over the event has been the accident that landed race legend John McGuinness in hospital.

As well as being ruled out of today’s action he will also miss next month’s TT, an event where he has tasted success an incredible 23 times.

His team, Honda Racing, announced their withdrawal from the event yesterday with the popular Morecambe man expected to remain in the Royal Victoria Hospital for another week.

There was fantastic close racing on Thursday, a first time winner in Yeovil’s Martin Jessopp, a first time podium for Dean Harrison and veteran Michael Rutter showing there is life in the old dog yet.

And then there was Alastair Seeley breaking the Superstock lap record on his way to his record 18th North West 200 victory, giving the Hector and Philip Neill TAS team their 25th North West 200 victory and equalling Phillip McCallen’s 28 podiums record along with Michael Rutter — all in perfect racing conditions.

The 37-year-old Tyco BMW rider is the man full of confidence with a tremendous record at the North West — winning a race every year for the 10th consecutive year — and set to start from pole position in today’s Superstock and Supersport races and from second position in the two Superbike events.

Seeley said: “Now that I have 18 wins, I’m hungry for more. I’m riding bikes I know, so there is no reason for me not to be challenging at the sharp end in the races. There is no other circuit like this, one minute you can be leading, the next back in fourth or fifth due to the slipstream effect.”

However it is not all about one man and there are a number of highly capable competitors who will be snapping at the Carrickfergus rider’s heels.

Outright lap record holder Michael Dunlop retired on the second lap of the Superstock race and finished seventh behind his brother William in the Supersport race on Thursday.

He races the Bennetts Suzuki Superbike for the first time on the roads starting the race from the second row of the grid .

“We are not a million miles away with the Superbike,” he said after qualifying.

“Yes, it’s an unknown quantity over a race distance, but I believe we are in the ball park to be challenging at the front.”

What a reception he would get if he could pull off a Superbike win today.

Rutter, who first competed at the North West in 1992, is riding superbly and had a good lead in Thursday’s Superstock before being forced to retire with engine problems and then finishing second in the Supertwin race.

The 44-year old starts today’s Superbike races from pole position after a lap of 122.943mph on his SMT Bathams BMW, 1.1secs ahead of Seeley and chasing his 14th North West win.

Glenn Irwin starts a North West Superbike race for the first time from the front row and his two podiums in BSB this season has upped his confidence with the only drawback possibly the outright top speed of the PBM Be Wiser Ducati Panigale. There is no doubting Irwin’s ability and confidence and it would be no surprise if the 27-year-old was contesting podiums in both Superbike races.

Ian Hutchinson (Tyco BMW) would not be keen to see his one meeting team-mate Seeley outshine him as he did on Thursday by half a minute in the Superstock opener and will be aiming for podiums today in Supersport, Superstock and Superbike.

Add in Thursday’s double winner Jessopp, first time podium finisher Harrison — a seven-time winner at Scarborough in April — James Hillier, Lee Johnston, Derek Sheils, William Dunlop, Peter Hickman, Ivan Lintin and Steve Mercer and you can see what a day racing fans can look forward to with winners hard to predict.

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