Alastair Seeley underlined his British championship pedigree as he marked his return to domestic action in Northern Ireland with a convincing hat-trick at Kirkistown.
The record 24-time North West 200 winner is competing in the Ulster Superbike Championship this year after his opportunities to compete in England dried up, but Seeley served up a timely reminder of his class with a double in the Superbike races and a victory in the first Supersport race at the Co Down circuit.
The 41-year-old, who hasn’t given up hope of earning a wild card ride in the British championship later this season, said: “I haven’t done a full season at home since 2009, apart from the Sunflower races, the North West 200 and some one-off races in 2015 and 2017.
“It’s nice to be back racing in front of the fans again and it was a great day.
“We had a technical issue with the Life Pass IFS Yamaha in the second Supersport race, but we got two wins on the Superbike and the lap record, and a Supersport win as well.
“I’m looking forward now to Bishopscourt at the weekend.”
Road racing star Michael Dunlop won the second Supersport race on his Yamaha after Seeley’s retirement. The Ballymoney man was also riding a SYNETIQ BMW Superbike, but Dunlop had two non-finishes in the races after qualifying fourth fastest.
The Belfast and District Club’s meeting, postponed from June 5, was the first motorcycling tarmac event of the year and the first race since last September’s Cookstown 100.
Seeley won the opening Superbike race by 0.4s from Derek Sheils (Roadhouse Macau BMW), with Ali Kirk from Dromara in third on the AKR/McCurry Motorsport BMW.
In race two, the ‘Wee Wizard’ completed a double over Sheils by 1.7s and set a new lap record for the 1.5-mile course in 54.701s (99.428mph). Kirk again completed the rostrum. Seeley took his opening win in the Supersport class by 1.8s from McAdoo Racing rider Adam McLean, with Dunlop slotting into third.
Veteran racer and former Grand Prix winner Jeremy McWilliams made a rare appearance at Kirkistown as he won both Supertwin races on the IFS fonaCAB Paton.
The local action continues this weekend with the second round of the Ulster Superbike Championship.
Seeley will again line-up as the favourite at the Mid Antrim Club’s Neil and Donny Robinson Memorial meeting at Bishopscourt in Co Down on Saturday and Sunday.