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North West 200: Wee Wizard on right track to be new king

By Phillip McCallen

Published 16/05/2015

On the brink: Alastair Seeley meets up with fan Paul Barnes from Kikeel
On the brink: Alastair Seeley meets up with fan Paul Barnes from Kikeel

The best laid battle plans rarely survive beyond first contact with the enemy.

At the start of this week at the North West 200, before an engine had been fired up, I felt there wasn't a hair's breadth between the top riders in terms of winning potential to the extent that no single rider looked capable of dominating and that as many as 10 riders would have designs on occupying the podium top step.

Nine of those fancied riders will likely have arrived on the same wavelength only to see their battle plans ripped apart by that formidable little foe, Alastair Seeley.

The Wee Wizard from Carrick isn't so much a Top 10 hit as the North West's new No.1.

Boy has he been on song this week and going into Race Day, he now stands just two wins short of Robert Dunlop's all time North West record of 15 wins. And, from a personal perspective, if Thursday night's halted Superstock race can be fitted into today's schedule, Alastair can match my own proud record of five wins in a day that has stood since 1992.

He goes in two Superstock, two Superbike and a Supersport race today and I wish him well, though five wins is a big ask, ever for a rider of his ability.

Yet, having watched all the leading contenders in practice this week, I quickly and dramatically revised my opinion to the firm belief that this North West can indeed belong to one man... Seeley.

Thursday night's performance in winning the Supersport reinforced that view and I won't be surprised if he does scorch to a minimum hat-trick of wins around the famous Triangle course and make history in the process by overtaking the late, great Robert's record 15 North West wins.

He is the man to beat and the one the crowds will most want to cheer home today.

All the elements are in place for a Seeley coronation.

Alaister Seeley celebrates victory in the supersport race this afternoon (his 14th Victory at the North West 200) during Saturday's races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker
Alaister Seeley celebrates victory in the supersport race this afternoon (his 14th Victory at the North West 200) during Saturday's races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 Lee Johnston leads Glenn Irwin and Alastair Seeley into the last lap of what is so far the race of the day in the Supersport race at todays North West 200 road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 Lee Johnston leads Glenn Irwin and Alastair Seeley into the last lap of what is so far the race of the day in the Supersport race at todays North West 200 road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Alastair Seeley - (Tyco by Tas Racing Suzuki ) heads Glenn Irwin - (Gearlink Kawasaki Kawasaki ) during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Ben Wilson - (Gearlink Kawasaki Kawasaki ) during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Glenn Irwin - (Gearlink Kawasaki Kawasaki ) during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Gary Johnson - (Mar-Train Racing Yamaha ) during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Alastair Seeley - (Tyco by Tas Racing Suzuki ) during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 Alaister Seeley celebrates victory in the supersport race this afternoon (his 14th Victory at the North West 200) with team boss 2nd place man Glenn Irwin during todays races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 Glenn Irwin celebrates his 2nd place in the Supersport race at todays North West 200 road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 Glenn Irwin, leads Alaister Seeley and Lee Johnston down to York Corner during the Supersport race at todays North West 200 road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 Glenn Irwin, leads Alaister Seeley and Lee Johnston into this corner during the Supersport race at todays North West 200 road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 Bruce Anstey, Michael Dunlop and Alaister Seeley blast off in the opening Supersport race during todays North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 Alaister Seeley celebrates victory in the supersport race this afternoon (his 14th Victory at the North West 200). Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 Alaister Seeley celebrates victory in the supersport race this afternoon (his 14th Victory at the North West 200) with team boss Phillip Neill during todays races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Alaister Seeley celebrates victory in the supersport race on Saturday afternoon (his 14th Victory at the North West 200) with team boss 2nd place man Glenn Irwin and Lee Johnston 3rd during todays races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press. 16/05/2015
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Lee Johnston - (East Coast Construction/Burdens Triumph ) ahead of Alastair Seeley during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Glenn Irwin - (Gearlink Kawasaki Kawasaki ) leads the first lap during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 Glenn Irwin celebrates his 2nd place in the Supersport race at todays North West 200 road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Glenn Irwin - (Gearlink Kawasaki Kawasaki ) heads Alastair Seeley - (Tyco by Tas Racing Suzuki ) during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race James Neesom - (Centurion Windows Kawasaki ) during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Michael Rutter during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Bruce Anstey - (Zealand Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles Padgetts Honda) during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Gary Johnson - (Mar-Train Racing Yamaha ) during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Glenn Irwin - (Gearlink Kawasaki Kawasaki ) leads the first lap during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 BetMcLean.com Supersport Race Michael Dunlop - (Yamaha ) heads William Dunlop - (cd/ic Yamaha ) during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast - 16-05-2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 Glenn Irwin Lee Jonhston & Alastair Seeley on the 600 supersport during today's North West 200 Race Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Belfast - 16-05-2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 Glenn Irwin leads the 600 supersport during today's North West 200 Race Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Belfast - 16-05-2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 Daen Harrison on the Supersport during today's North West 200 Race Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Belfast - 16-05-2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 William Dunlop on the Supersport during today's North West 200 Race Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Belfast - 16-05-2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 Alastair Seeley wins the 600 supersport during today's North West 200 Race Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Belfast - 16-05-2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 Glenn Irwin and Lee Jonhston on the 600 supersport during today's North West 200 Race Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International North West 200 Saturday racing. Race 2 Betmclean.com Supersport Race - 6 laps. Glenn Irwin comes in second.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International North West 200 Saturday racing. Race 2 Betmclean.com Supersport Race - 6 laps. Alastair Seeley wins the race.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International North West 200 Saturday racing. Race 2 Betmclean.com Supersport Race - 6 laps. Glenn Irwin comes in second.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International North West 200 Saturday racing. Race 2 Betmclean.com Supersport Race - 6 laps. Glenn Irwin comes in second.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International North West 200 Saturday racing. Race 2 Betmclean.com Supersport Race - 6 laps. Glenn Irwin comes in second.
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 16th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Glenn Irwin Gearlink Kawasaki Alistair Seeley Tyco Suzuki and Lee Johnston East Coast Construction Triumph battle wheel to wheel over Black Hill during the Bet McClean Sportsport Race during Saturday's at the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Vauxhall International North West 200 Saturday racing. Guy Martin apologises to North West 200 director Melvyn Whyte for comments he made live on TV on Thursday. Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock. Didier Grams. Photo: Matt Mackey
Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Spidi Superstock Race Supporters at Ballysally roundabout during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Spidi Superstock Race Supporters at Ballysally roundabout during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Spidi Superstock Race Supporters at Ballysally roundabout during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Spidi Superstock Race Supporters at Ballysally roundabout during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Spidi Superstock Race Young supporters at Ballysally roundabout during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 A female spectator is air lifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital after being injured during a crash incident in todays superstock race at the North west 200 road races. Photo Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 16/05/2015 A female spectator is air lifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital after being injured during a crash incident in todays superstock race at the North west 200 road races. Photo Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker Press
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 16th May 2015 Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock.
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 16th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Lee Johnston East Coast Construction BMW leads Alistair Seeley Tyco Motorrad Racing S1000RR BMW ,Ian Hutchinson PBM Kawasaki and Michael Dunlop Yamaha over Black Hill during RE-RUN the Spidi Superstock Race which was Red Flagged and the race abandoned during Saturday's at the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Spidi Superstock Race Riders gather at Ballysally during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Spidi Superstock Race Riders gather at Ballysally during today's race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Spidi Superstock Race Michael Dunlop - (Yamaha ) during a break in today's races at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 16-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Spidi Superstock Race Injured rider Sandor Bitter gets a lift from Clerk of the Course Mervyn Whyte during today's races at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 16th May 2015 Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 16th May 2015 Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock. Guy Martin.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 16th May 2015 Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 16th May 2015 Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 16th May 2015 Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 16th May 2015 Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 16th May 2015 Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock. North West 200 Event director, Mervyn Whyte along with Danny Kennedy is the Minister for Regional Development and Steve Platter.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 16th May 2015 Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock. Clerk of the course Stanleigh Murray.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 16th May 2015 Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 16th May 2015 Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Spidi Superstock. Keith Amor.
Michael Dunlop on the grid during Saturday's North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Guy Martin on the grid during Saturday's North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Road Racing fans dresses as Minions on the Coast Road between Portrush and Portstewart at the Saturday's Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Road Racing fans William Hamill and Raymond Irvine from Bangor on the Coast Road between Portrush and Portstewart at the Saturday's Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
North West 200 riders carry out a meet and greet in Coleraine ahead of Saturday's races around the International North West 200 circuit.
Lee Johnston meets some of his fans at the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 Meet the Riders event in Coleraine town centre today. Picture by Stephen Davison
Adrian Logan interviews John McGuinness at the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 Meet the Riders event in Coleraine town centre today. Picture by Stephen Davison
Horst Saiger meets Barbara McCann at the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 Meet the Riders event in Coleraine town centre today. Picture by Stephen Davison
Alastair Seeley with Paul Barnes from Kilkeel at the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 Meet the Riders event in Coleraine town centre today. Picture by Stephen Davison
Guy Martin fans Allan and Paula Priestley from Banbridge on the Coast Road between Portrush and Portstewart at the Saturday's Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
North West 200 Thursday races around the International North West 200 circuit. Lee Johnston along with his dad after the superstock race. Photo - Matt Mackey/ Presseye
North West 200 Thursday races around the International North West 200 circuit. Maria Costello. Photo - Matt Mackey/ Presseye
North West 200 Thursday races around the International North West 200 circuit. Supertwin race winner Ryan Farquhar. Photo - Matt Mackey/ Presseye
North West 200 Thursday races around the International North West 200 circuit. Jamie Hamilton who came 3rd in the Supertwin race. Photo - Matt Mackey/ Presseye
North West 200 Thursday races around the International North West 200 circuit. Alastair Seeley along with his dad after winning the supersport race. Photo - Matt Mackey/ Presseye
James Hillier (Quattro Plant Muc-off Kawaski Kawasaki) in action during a practice session for this year's NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
North West 200 Thursday races around the International North West 200 circuit. Martin Jessop. Photo - Matt Mackey/ Presseye
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Derek McGee during today's Supertwin Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Christian Elkin - (Kawasaki ) during today's Supertwin Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Ryan Farquhar - (SGS/Manx Gas by KMR Kawasaki KMR Kawasaki ) during today's Supertwin Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 14/05/2015 Great weather and huge crowds for Thursday evenings races at the North West 200.. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Jeremy McWilliams - (SGS/Manx Gas by KMR Kawasaki KMR Kawasaki ) during today's Supertwin Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Michael Dunlop - (Yamaha ) during today's Supertwin Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Jeremy McWilliams - (SGS/Manx Gas by KMR Kawasaki KMR Kawasaki ) and Jamie Hamilton during today's Supertwin Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Ryan Farquhar - (SGS/Manx Gas by KMR Kawasaki KMR Kawasaki ) during today's Supertwin Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 A rider crashed on the entrance to Ballysally roundabout during today's Superstock Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. The Spidi superstock race was postponed and will be re sun on Saturday Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 A rider crashed on the entrance to Ballysally roundabout during today's Superstock Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. The Spidi superstock race was postponed and will be re sun on Saturday Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Lee Johnston - (East Coast Construction/Burdens Triumph ) during today's Supersport Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 John McGuinness - (Jackson Racing Honda ) during today's Supersport Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Alastair Seeley - (Tyco by Tas Racing Suzuki ) during today's Supersport Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Alastair Seeley - (Tyco by Tas Racing Suzuki ) during today's Supersport Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Alastair Seeley - (Tyco by Tas Racing Suzuki ) during today's Supersport Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Dean Harrison - (Mar-Train Racing Yamaha ) during today's Supersport Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 William Dunlop - (cd/ic Yamaha ) during today's Supersport Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 14-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Jeremy McWilliams - (SGS/Manx Gas by KMR Kawasaki KMR Kawasaki ) and Jamie Hamilton during today's Supertwin Race at the Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 14th May 2015 North West 200 Thursday races around the International North West 200 circuit. First Minister Peter Robinson chats to Race Director Mervyn Whyte and racer Alastair Seeley on the grid.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 14/05/2015 Alastair Seeley celebrates notching up his 13th victory at the North west 200 this evening. He was the run away winner in the opening Supersport race, and hopes for a few more on saturday afternoon. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
On the grid during todays practice for the 2015 North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Lee Johnston during todays practice for the 2015 North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Crowds watch the action on the grid. Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Alastair Seeley pictured on the grid with BBC presenter Stephen Watson. Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Jamie Hamilton on the grid. Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Jeremy McWilliams pictured on the grid. Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Glenn Irwin on the grid. Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. John McGuinness on the grid. Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. James Hillier on the grid. Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. James Hillier on the grid. Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
Alastair Seeley went fastest in the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock classes during todays practice for the 2015 North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
John McGuinness on his Superbike during todays practice for the 2015 North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Lee Johnston during todays practice for the 2015 North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Alastair Seeley on his Superbike during todays practice for the 2015 North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
The Vertical Trix stunt team entertain during the North West 200 (International road racing) Race Week Festival event at East Strand, Portrush. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Burning rubber with the stunt team during the North West 200 (International road racing) Race Week Festival event at East Strand, Portrush. Picture Margaret McLauglin.
Burning rubber with the stunt team during the North West 200 (International road racing) Race Week Festival event at East Strand, Portrush. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Burning rubber with the stunt team during the North West 200 (International road racing) Race Week Festival event at East Strand, Portrush. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Alastair Seeley pictured on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Michael Rutter on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Keith Amor on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Bruce Anstey on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. John McGuinness on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Bruce Anstey on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Keith Amor on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Keith Amor on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. John McGuinness on the grid.
Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Ryan Farquhar SGS/Manx Gas KMR Kawasaki on the racing line during Supertwin practice for the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. The bikes wait to be moved up to the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. William Dunlop makes his way to the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. The bikes wait to be moved up to the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Guy Martin pictured on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Alastair Seeley pictured on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Guy Martin pictured on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Dean Harrison(left) and Lee Johnston pictured on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Jeremy McWilliams(left) and Ryan Farquhar pictured on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Guy Martin pictured on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Jeremy McWilliams(left) and Ryan Farquhar pictured on the grid.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th May 2015 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200 Thursday practice ahead of tonight's races. Alastair Seeley pictured on the grid.
Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Jamie Hamilton Cookstown/Burrows Kawasaki during Supertwin practice for the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Michael Dunlop Yamaha looking over his shoulder during Supertwin practice for the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye James Hillier Quattro Plant Muc-off Kawasaki during Supertwin practice for the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Ryan Farquhar SGS/Manx Gas KMR Kawasaki leading Ian Morrell Suzuki during Supertwin practice for the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 14th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Jeremy McWilliams SGS/Manx Gas KMR Kawasaki with James Cowton Kawasaki during Supertwin practice for the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Tyco BMW's Alastair Seeley was fastest in the Supersport, Superstock and Superbike classes at Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Tyco BMW's Alastair Seeley was fastest in the Supersport, Superstock and Superbike classes at Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Guy Martin chats with Tyco BMW team boss Philip Neill during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Gary Johnson during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Michael Dunlop during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Guy Martin chats with Tyco BMW team boss Philip Neill during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 : North West 200 newcomer Glenn Irwin gets some his advice from his father Alan during today's opening practice session. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 12-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 / in action during today's first practice session for this years Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Stuart Andrews waves to the large crowd after receiving a standing ovation. Stuart's son Simon was killed last year on the approach to Metropole. Stuart was attending last nights Miss North West 200.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Penz13.com's Dan Kruger shows off his special Simin Andrews tribute helmet during today's practice session. Andrews, who raced for the Penz13.com team was killed during last year's event Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Penz13.com's Dan Kruger looks to the heavens in his special North West 200 helmet during today's practice session. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Michael Dunlop Yamaha during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Paul Shoesmith Ice Valley Yamaha during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Michael Dunlop Yamaha during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th May 2015 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Michael Dunlop Yamaha chased by Keith Amor RidDeluge Honda during Supersport practice for the Vauxhall International 2015 North West 200. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Pacemaker Belfast 12-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Adrian Clark - (Kawasaki ) in action during today's first practice session for this years Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Conor Cummins & Michael Rutter lead off the superbikes during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 12-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Ian Hutchinson - (Paul Bird Motorsport Kawasaki ) in action during today's first practice session for this years Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 12-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 / in action during today's first practice session for this years Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 12-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Keith Amor - (RigDeluge Road Racing BMW ) in action during today's first practice session for this years Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 12-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 / in action during today's first practice session for this years Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 12-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 / in action during today's first practice session for this years Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 12-05-15 Vauxhall International North West 200 2015 Dan Kneen - (Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles Padgetts Honda ) in action during today's first practice session for this years Vauxhall International NW200 in Portrush. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast - 12-05-2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 Alastair Seeley on the Superstock during today's North West 200 Practice Photo by Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker
Vauxhall International North West 200 Michael Rutter on the Superstock during today's North West 200 Practice.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 William Dunlop (Tyco BMW Motorrad Racing) during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 William Dunlop during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Alaistair Seeley (Tyco BMW Motorrad Racing) during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Phillip Neill & Guy Martin (Tyco BMW Motorrad Racing) during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Lee Johnston during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 Conor Cummins & Michael Rutter lead off the superbikes during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice. Gary Johnston.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 On track doctor, Dr John Hinds photographed as he prepares his kit to allow him to deliver crucial medical aid if and when required on the North West 200 circuit.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 On track doctor, Dr John Hinds photographed as he prepares his kit to allow him to deliver crucial medical aid if and when required on the North West 200 circuit.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice. Conor Cummins.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice. John McGuinness.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice. Dean Harrison.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice. William Dunlop.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice. James Hamilton along with his team.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice. Ian Hutchinson.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice. Jamie Hamilton.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice. William Dunlop.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice. Bruce Anstey.
Photographer ?Matt Mackey - Presseye.com 12th May 2015 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200. Tuesday practice. Lee Johnston.
A good bet: Alastair Seeley is joined at the Bet McLean Juniper Hill chicane by Paul McLean of McLean’s Bookmakers and Mervyn Whyte, Event Director of the Vauxhall International North West 200
Blast from the past: Phillip McCallen on his way to his historic five-timer at the North West back in 1992

He is the best equipped rider, both mechanically and mentally. My observation that there was so little between the top 10 riders was an accurate one. And when you find yourself in company like that, where spliit-seconds count, you look for anything that will give you an edge.

Alastair is a class rider, there's no doubt about that, but where he scores over the others is his familiarity - with the course, his bikes and his team.

It's the extra weapon in his armoury the others do not possess, just yet.

For many leading riders, this North West has been about getting to grips with new bikes, getting to know new team set-ups and generally finding their way around.

In sharp contrast, Alastair is comfortable with his bikes, his Tyco team and himself; riding and winning Superstock races in the British Championship this season. The Supersport 600 is the same bike he's won on here before, only with a bit more power.

In the Superbikes he'll start with a two and half second lead over Lee Johnston - at this level that's a country mile.

Rivals like Bruce Anstey and Michael Dunlop are catching up fast, but they need more miles. If the rest don't get themselves and their machines right, it could be a procession, led by Seeley.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

And, finally, a word of praise for the race organisers, the Coleraine Motor Club and race chief, Mervyn Whyte. They have lifted this event onto a different plane, on and off the track, and it was great to see the fans respond with the best Thursday night turnout since the innovation four years ago.

Let's hope Mervyn, the fans and, above all, the riders are blessed with the brilliant day's racing their dedication deserves.

Schedule

The revised schedule for racing at the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 is as follows (roads close 9.30am, racing begins at 10.30am).

Race 1: Spidi Superstock race 6 laps

Race 2: Betmclean.com Supersport Race 6 laps

Race 3: Monster Energy Superbike Race 7 laps

Race 4:The Anchor Portstewart Supertwin Race 4 laps

Race 5: CP Hire Superstock Race 6 laps

Race 6: Vauxhall NW200 Superbike Race 7 laps

Belfast Telegraph

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