North West 200: Alastair Seeley takes 18th win as Martin Jessopp does the double in Supersport and Supertwins
Alastair Seeley continued his record breaking ways at the North West 200 as he smashed the Superstock lap record to claim his 18th victory on the famous Triangle circuit on his Tyco BMW.
The ‘Wee Wizard’ set a new mark of 122.898mph to win from Lee Johnston (East Coast Construction) and Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki). Seeley has now won a race at the North West every year since his first victory in 2008. His Superstock race victory was the 25th win for TAS Racing team bosses Hector and Philip Neill but it wasn’t without its drama.
“I hit a false neutral on lap two at the roundabout after I got into the lead and had to run up over the grass and on to a footpath.” the 35 year old said.
“I had to work my way back to the front and I thought I’d better not do anything silly on the last lap. Hopefully we can continue this form on Saturday for the massive crowds who are around the circuit.”
Tyco BMW boss Philip Neill was delighted with Seeley’s success.
“It is fantastic to get our 25th NW200 win.,” he said.
“This is what racing is all about and it is fitting that Alastair is the man who is bringing it to us.”
It was also a major consolation for the Carrickfergus rider after his retirement on lap two of the Supersport race with an engine problem earlier in the evening. Seeley had been fastest in practice but Martin Jessopp took advantage of the local man’s absence to win his first North West race on the Riders Motorcycles Triumph.
“I am lost for words.” the Yeovil man said.
“I have been trying to win a race here for ten years and now I have done it.”
“I tried to ride my own race and open a gap on the rest of the field.” he explained.
Jessopp won by 0.772 seconds from Ian Hutchinson on the McAMS Yamaha with James Hillier third on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki a further 1,2 seconds back.
It was the Triumph’s first win at the North West since 1970.
Jessopp didn’t have to wait long for his second North West win, taking victory in the final race of the evening, the Supertwins event on his Riders Motorcycles ER6 Kawasaki.
“I had pushed hard all race and was taking it a little bit easier on the last lap when I saw I had a six second lead on my board.” Jessop explained.
“But I looked back at the roundabout and saw Rutter behind me so I had to get my head down again.”
Rutter’s Kawasaki was built by Ryan Farquhar, who had been seriously injured in the same race twelve months ago, and it took a new lap record from Jessopp on the final circuit of 110.423mph to win by 0.8 seconds from Rutter with Ivan Lintin (Dafabet Devitt Kawasaki) third.
John McGuinness crash
Earlier in the day the superbike practice session was red flagged after a crash at Primrose corner.
Rider John McGuinness came off his bike and was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast with a suspected broken leg. The 45-year-old Morecambe rider is a six time winner at the event.
The practice session was abandoned due to the red flag.
A tweet from the English road racer's team said he was "conscious and is going to hospital with a suspected broken leg".
Thursday race results
1 Martin Jessopp
2 Michael Rutter
3 Ivan Lintin
1 Alastair Seeley
2 Lee Johnston
3 Dean Harrison
4 Ian Hutchinson
5 Martin Jessopp
6 Hames Hillier
7 Derek Sheils
8 William Dunlop
9 Daniel Cooper
10 Sam West
1 M Jessopp
2 I Hutchinson
3 J Hillier
4 Dean Harrison
5 Lee Johnston
6 William Dunlop
7 Michael Dunlop
8 James Cowton
9 Jamie Coward
10 Horst Saiger
Alastair Seeley secured another pole position in the final Supersport practice session at the North West 200 with a lap time of 4.36.
Second was Lee Johnston with a time of 4.37.
Michael Dunlop qualified in third with 4.38 a lap time.
Earlier, Seeley was fastest in the Superstocks session 2 with a lap time of 4.22.
Followed by Bathams Michael Rutter coming in second with a lap of 4.24.
Lee Johnston makes up the top 3 with a lap time of 4.25 on Jackson racing machinery.
Ballymoney's Michaels Dunlop with be in 7th position on the grid with his brother William 10th
Guy Martin black flagged
Meanwhile, Guy Martin was black flagged at Metropole as he didn't put his foot down at Mather's Cross.
And Martin Jessopp topped the leaderboard in Thursday morning's Supertwin practice session.
With a lap time of 4.55, Jessopp will start from pole on the grid. Michael Rutter followed closely on his heels with a lap time of 4.56.
Yorkshires Ivan Lintin completed the top three with a lap of 4.59.
Riding the Air ambulance charities supertwin, Fermanagh's Lee Johnston came in fourth with a time of 4.59.
Mark Dangerfield crashed out of the session.