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North West 200: Seeley extends wins record with Superstock joy

By Jim Gracey

Wee Wizard Alastair Seeley lived up to his pre-race declaration that he is still the man to beat at the North West 200 on another record-breaking night for the Carrick rider and the north coast speed spectacular.

Seeley (37) overcame an early mishap to extend his wins record at the North West to 18 with victory in the Superstock race, setting a new NW lap record in the 1000cc class of a blistering 122.898mph on his BMW.

Seeley has at least one win a year in each of the last 10 years at the North West.

He now has another target in his sights in tomorrow’s main Race Day after last night equalling legend Phillip McCallen’s record of 28 podium finishes at the North West.

Veteran Michael Rutter also has 28 following his second place in the Supertwin race.

Seeley revealed later how he chased down rivals Rutter and Dean Harrison to win the race after his bike was knocked out of gear at Ballysally roundabout on the first lap.

“I saw a little footpath, mounted it and freewheeled until I found a gear and set off in pursuit again,” he said.

Seeley’s Superstock win was his Tyco team’s 25th at the North West for father and son team owners, Hector and Philip Neil.

Seeley hailed them, saying: “They provide the bikes. I am just the jockey and hopefully I’ll reward them with more wins on Saturday.”

Either side of Seeley’s success, Somerset visitor Martin Jessop won the opening Supersport race and concluding Supertwins race, setting a new lap record in the latter of 110.899mph.

The downside to an otherwise superb, sun-splashed day and night was a crash involving eight-time NW winner John McGuinness in afternoon Superbike practice. The 45-year-old Honda rider suffered a broken leg in the accident at Primrose that will rule the multiple TT winner out of next month’s event and possibly even end his racing career.

Honda team-mate Guy Martin was subsequently withdrawn by the team from last night’s Superstock race but is expected to figure tomorrow.

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