Alastair Seeley

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


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.


Road racing – Wee Wizard works his magic at NW200

#34 Alastair Seeley

#34 Alastair Seeley

Alastair Seeley continued his domination of the NW200 races, chalking up wins in the Supersport and Superbike categories to move him to the top of the event’s all time win rankings, with an incredible 15 victories – a feat which moves him level with Robert Dunlop.

Seeley, from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland, showed his intentions early in the week as he made easy work of the tricky conditions throughout practice on his Tyco BMW ‘big bikes’ in the Superbike and Superstock classes, alongside a Tyco TAS Suzuki in Supersport 600. Seeley duly logged his first win of the week in Thursday evening’s Supersport opener and was looking set for a very strong position in the first Superstock race, before it was postponed.

Saturday’s schedule was severely affected by showers and accidents with the postponed Superstock race again moved back to later in the day. The Supersport race was a thrilling affair as Northern Irish riders Seeley, Lee Johnston and NW200 debutant Glen Irwin swapped the lead in a high speed slipstreaming spectacle, with Seeley eventually coming out on top.

The first Superbike race of the programme saw Seeley take the holeshot before a confidently riding Ian Hutchinson moved into the lead. The race was red flagged but the re-start saw an identical scenario develop as Hutchinson then went on to lead much of the race on his PBM Kawasaki. Seeley showed his local knowledge by outbraking the TT star into the Magheraboy chicane on the final lap to take the win, equalling Robert Dunlop’s long standing 15 win record.

After yet more showers, the Superstock race saw another titanic battle between the lightweight local racers Seeley and Johnston, joined at times in the slipstream by other riders. This time round Johnston turned the tables on Seeley, and they were joined on the podium again by Hutchinson, who logged a new lap record for the class.

The final event of the programme, the Vauxhall NW200 Superbike race was postponed after strong winds hit the area, a decision made by organisers after rider consultation.