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Alastair Seeley is taking it slowly ahead of quest to boost his own North West 200 record


Alastair Seeley is taking his time to get used to the NW 200 circuit again

Alastair Seeley is taking his time to get used to the NW 200 circuit again


Alastair Seeley is taking his time to get used to the NW 200 circuit again

All-time North West 200 record holder Alastair Seeley made a solid start to his quest for a milestone 25th victory yesterday, but admits the challenge he faces is tougher than ever.

Seeley is riding IFS Yamaha machines across the board and was fifth fastest in the Supersport session, fourth in Superbike qualifying and ninth quickest on his Superstock machine.

The 24-time winner is vastly experienced around the 8.9-mile course, but even Seeley was adopting a cautious approach initially after three years away.

“It’s good to be back because we missed it for two years and we’re all systems go now,” he said.

“It’s about familiarising yourself with the track again and there are some areas that have been resurfaced, so we’ll not go mad to start with.

“You need to get the brain up to speed and then crack on.

“I just love the place. I think it just clicks for me — I enjoy the big long straights and I do my homework before I come.

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“I’ve got a good strategic brain when I’m on the bike and I’ve probably got it worked out, but the calibre of riders here is very strong because it’s an international event and it’s not going to be easy.

“I’ve got a good team around me in IFS Racing and they’ve given me a full stable of Yamaha machinery.

“When you’ve got sunshine and blue skies you need to enjoy it because the clouds aren’t long in rolling in around this place.”

Seeley failed to win a race in 2019, the first time since his maiden triumph in 2008, and feels there is less expectation surrounding him this year.

“The target was on my back when we were winning, but in 2019 we didn’t even get a podium, so I hope I can come in under the radar a bit,” said the 42-year-old.

“Things just didn’t quite work out for us that year because I had a slip-off on the Thursday night and an engine failure, then the big bike wasn’t very stable at high speed.

“Everything just went against us and it wasn’t meant to be. We’ll just wipe that one out, do our own thing and hopefully we’ll be there or thereabouts.”

Roads close tomorrow for final qualifying from 9.15am to 3.15pm and again from 5pm to 9pm for the first Supersport, Superstock and Supertwin races.

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