Belfast Telegraph

A super 2011 in store for bike ace Seeley

By Paul Lindsay

North West 200 Superbike winner Alastair Seeley has picked up the bonus prize as he makes his plans for the 2011 season.

While the Carrickfergus rider will not compete in the British Superbike series, the 31-year-old has secured a deal to remain with mid-Ulster based Relentless BY TAS Suzuki.

He will spearhead Suzuki’s official return to the British Supersport arena as their sole representative.

Seeley had a great debut year in the Superbike class in the UK, but with budget constraints and so few top rides available, he believes he’s in a top position with TAS Racing, who will also provide him with a full stable of factory-supported machinery for the International North West 200.

“The North West is very important to me as it’s the only road race I do and I suppose it’s my chance to get a wee bonus,” joked the former British Superstock champion.

“So to get the chance to stay with Philip and Hector Neill and also be able to represent Suzuki was always my main goal.

“People will ask am I disappointed at losing the Superbike ride, but if I’m honest, I think the Supersport machine will suit my stature better.

“And with factory support I know we can target the championship in 2011.”

Seeley will test the all-new race bred GSX-R600 in sunnier climes shortly after the New Year, joining the team’s Australian recruit Josh Brookes, who will be the unofficial number one in their Superbike garage during 2011.

It is still uncertain who will ride the second Superbike for the team but names like Simon Andrews, Ian Lowry and Dan Linfoot have all been touted.

Commenting on Seeley’s deal. team boss Philip Neill added: “I'm delighted that Alastair is with us for what is effectively his third year, as we have already formed a formidable partnership.

“He has been a British Champion in Relentless Suzuki colours, won a British Superbike race as a rookie and lifted the prestigious NW200 Superbike title.

“We will be looking for bigger and better things with Alastair next season, both in the British Supersport series and the North West 200.

“It's an important year for Suzuki re-entering British Supersport with a new bike and I know Alastair feels it's a huge honour to have been asked to represent them. He had a terrific rookie season in BSB in 2010 and he will get various opportunities to ride the Superbike next season, but in the short-term his focus will be on challenging for the Supersport title on the all-new GSX-R600.”

On the road racing front Guy Martin remains the only signing for the ‘between the hedges’ effort next season and with Ian Hutchinson a strong favourite to land a Yamaha ride with Shaun Muir’s Swan Yamaha team, it leaves only Michael Dunlop and possibly Gary Johnson as TAS targets.

Team supremo Neill isn’t panicking and continued: “I’m a bit tired of it all at this stage.

“I’ll not be chasing anyone — that’s been done — and those boys who I’ve spoken to, will now need to knock on my door if they want to ride for Relentless Suzuki next season. If that doesn’t happen then we may well run with Guy Martin. We’ll see what happens.”

Belfast Telegraph

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