Belfast Telegraph

Alastair Seeley game for clinching Robert Dunlop's North West 200 throne

By Paul Lindsay

As an avid Arsenal fan, Vauxhall International North West 200 kingpin Alastair Seeley will not welcome the moniker 'baby-faced assassin', once reserved for former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but it's the perfect description for the 12-time winner who has Robert Dunlop's record tally of 15 triumphs in his sights this time around.

Riding with Tyco BMW, clinching his third British championship crown is Seeley's optimum goal this season aboard the German company's ultra-fast S1000RR in the Superstock.

Although he was candid enough to admit that a hat-trick at the Triangle - which is his only road racing event each season - is also a major goal on May 14 and 16.

"I'm not too far away from the record now and if I had a good week maybe I could match it. It would be great to equal the record at least. If it happens, it happens but it is getting tougher every year at the North West," admitted the 35-year-old.

Despite two wins at last year's event on Kawasaki and Yamaha machinery, Seeley is delighted to be back under the watchful eye of TAS Racing team manager Philip Neill and working under the same awning as enigmatic team owner Hector Neill in the all-new Tyco BMW set-up.

"I'm back with a team that I am comfortable with and things are going pretty well in the British series," said Seeley, who only for an electrical problem at Brands Hatch during round two would have recorded his first win of the year on the big BMW.

Looking ahead to the North West 200, Seeley explained: "We were out at Kirkistown for two days last week and I will ride my new Superbike soon, so everything is going to plan."

It's a well known fact that BMW do not make a 600cc Supersport machine, and as BMW Motorrad's official entrant, it is a somewhat delicate, or should I say guarded, subject in the Tyco headquarters up in Moneymore.

There is, and will be, no official team statement, but I have it on good information that Seeley will ride a Tyco liveried Supersport machine at this year's North West 200.

The obvious choice is for the team to wheel out one of their GSX-R600 Suzukis, which have been mothballed since the end of last year.

But everyone knows that whether the Wee Wizard joins the grid on a Suzuki or any other make of middleweight bike next month, he will start as an obvious favourite - as he will in the 1000cc categories on BMW Motorrad S1000RRs.

"I suppose I have started as the favourite for the last few years which means I usually have a target on my back," said the Carrickfergus man with a wry smile.

"I try to not let that affect me because it can put pressure on you if you think like that and I ride better if I am relaxed."

Last year, Seeley won Supersport and Superstock races, but he says the middleweight win was possibly his best at the North West, having to come from virtually last place after taking avoiding action at York Corner when Lee Johnston went down in front of him.

"I would say that 600cc win on Thursday evening was one of my best North West performances," said Seeley.

"I just put my head down and set about trying to catch the fast guys in front and I managed to do that."

Seeley will continue his preparations next week for the North West 200, but for now the baby-faced assassin has a May Day date on his mind with Tyco BMW at Oulton Park for round three of the British Superbike series.

Belfast Telegraph


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