Belfast Telegraph

Alastair Seeley is eyeing more glory after masterclass

By Paul Lindsay

Alastair Seeley (Mar-Train Kawasaki) completed a masterful double at the Vauxhall North West 200, by out-foxing the BMW’s of Michael Rutter and Michael Dunlop in a sensational last lap to the six-lap Pirtek Superstock race.

Seeley hit the front on lap one on the fast run to University and at Ballysally Roundabout he led Martin Jessopp, Michael Rutter and Michael Dunlop with Simon Andrews closing fast.

On lap two at York Hairpin Andrews dived inside Jessopp for second, but ran wide taking Rutter with him.

At the end of lap two Seeley had a 1.5 second lead over Jessopp, Rutter and Dunlop. The Carrickfergus rider set a new lap record of 120.411mph.

In a BMW slip streaming duel on the flat out run to the University Rutter went second ahead of Jessop and Dunlop as Seeley continued to lead the way.

At the end of lap three there was another new lap record of 121.214mph — this time to Austrian Horst Saiger as he latched onto Dunlop’s back wheel in fourth.

Into the second half of the race Rutter began to eat into Seeley’s lead, the Bathams BMW snaking under braking into Mathers Chicane and at the end of the lap he had reduced Seeley’s lead to half a second with Dunlop a clear third two and a half seconds adrift, the Ballymoney man now clear of Jessopp and Saiger.

As Rutter drew alongside Seeley on lap five on the flat out run to University he appeared to wave at his rival, but explained afterwards he was, “Just tearing off a tear-off.”

Rutter was ahead at Ballysally and the pair were side-by-side towards Mathers as the light began to fade.

Under the bridge at Dhu Varren Seeley closed the gap to Rutter, but at Juniper Chicane the two leaders encountered a slower rider allowing Dunlop onto their back wheel as the trio sped onto the final lap — and what a lap it was.

At Ballysally Dunlop led Seeley and Rutter as they flew past a backmarker towards Magherabuoy, then at Metropole Seeley was into second and on Dunlop’s case.

Taking up the story Seeley said: “Michael went a bit squirrelly up through the railway bridge and I

got a good drive up to Black Hill where I passed him on the inside.

“I rode a defensive line to Juniper Chicane and I knew if I got through there first it would take a desperate lunge to deny me the win.”

Dunlop lost second to Rutter at Juniper and ended up third as the trio flashed across the finish line.

Seeley won by half a second from Rutter with Dunlop a further three tenths back in third after a sensational last lap.

Jessop hung onto fourth place over two seconds behind Dunlop and three tenths ahead of Saiger with Andrews sixth twelve seconds behind the Austrian.

A delighted Seeley said after what was his 12th North West victory: “Thursday has been good for me here, I also had a double last year.

“If it stays dry come Saturday we can improve the package and hopefully add to the success I had today.”

Conor Cummins, Guy Martin, newcomer Peter Hickman and William Dunlop completed the top ten, but well behind the flying trio at the front of the race.

A tremendous battle at the front of the second group of riders saw Derek Sheils fend off Gerard Kinghan after Jamie Hamilton dropped out, the pair finishing 14th and 15th overall.

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