Road racing – record breaking Seeley shines at NW200, Irwin claims debut blue riband win

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It was a day of records at the prestigious International North West 200 road racing event in Northern Ireland, with local rider Alastair Seeley taking his win tally to an incredible 21 victories as he claimed four wins in the week for the first time in his career.

Local hero Seeley, from Carrickfergus, was in imperious form throughout qualifying, setting pole position in the Supersport and Superstock classes whilst Michael Rutter lined up first in the Superbike division.

Under clear blue skies, Thursday night saw the traditional start to proceedings with the first Supersport, Superstock and Supertwins events. Martin Jessopp took his first ever International road race victory in the 600cc class which he later followed up in the lightweight Supertwins outing. Seeley, or The ‘Wee Wizard’, as he is affectionately known, took the Superstock victory on his Tyco BMW S1000RR with a dominant 12 second win and logged up a new lap record in the process.

Saturday was very different with overnight rain seeing a delay to proceedings. It was the second Supersport race which kicked the action off, and picking up where he left off on Thursday it was Seeley who cruised to victory by over 4 seconds.

With rain arriving as the Superbikes took to the grid, a lengthy delay ensued with the race eventually getting underway over a shortened race distance of four laps and on a wet track. The ‘Wee Wizard’ was in imperious form throughout the race to claim the win by over 21 seconds ahead of fellow Metzeler rider Rutter. Rutter would be able to go one better in the following Supertwin race however, returning to the top step of the podium to become the third most successful rider in North West 200 history. Thursday night race winner Jessopp finished third. The second Superstock race was red flagged with rain arriving mid-way through the race, giving Tyco BMW and Alastair Seeley another victory with Rutter third.

As the circuit dried, the scene was set for an epic finale; the seven lap North West 200 Superbike race. It did not disappoint as Seeley, Ian Hutchinson and Glenn Irwin battled throughout in a series of audacious overtakes. British Superbike young star Irwin took his maiden victory with some style in front of his local fans.

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