SEELEY TAKES SUPERBIKE WIN AT IRELAND'S NORTH WEST 200
IRELAND (May 16, 2010) Alastair Seeley made history yesterday, winning the feature Superbike event at the International North West 200, a first for an Irish rider in thirteen years. Powered by VP’s M8-1 race fuel, the 30-year-old reigning British Superstock champion also took the opening Supersport race victory, a Superbike race one podium and two other fourth placed finishes – on a day when his Relentless by TAS Suzuki team posted four podiums from five races, including two top steps.
The team started its day with third place in the opening Superbike event, again heralded by Seeley, who fought his way from the third row of the grid to stand on the podium. On the opening lap it was Bruce Anstey who led the Relentless Suzuki effort, coming from his row five grid slot up to fourth place, but he was soon overhauled by his diminutive teammate, who closed down a five second gap to the leaders for his opening podium of the day. Such was Seeley’s pace that he set a new lap record for the 8.9-mile circuit at 120.985mph [4mins 26.909sec].
In the opening Supersport race it was again Anstey who led the Relentless Suzuki charge on the opening lap in sixth, with Seeley two places further behind in eighth on his GSX-R600. But Seeley was hungry for a debut middleweight division victory at the NW200, forcing his way into the leading group of four on lap three, with some aggressive but safe passing maneuvers.
On the final lap into the penultimate chicane at Juniper Hill, Seeley produced one of the best moves ever witnessed at the North West 200 ‘triangle’, sliding in between Ian Hutchinson and Keith Amor. After leaving his braking later than his rivals, Seeley dropped his GSX-R600 into the chicane ahead of both Hondas, and from there he was never headed to the flag, giving TAS Racing its fifth victory in the Supersport class at the North West 200. Seeley again set a new class lap record at 115.582mph [4mins 39.386sec]
When the feature NW200 Superbike event was cut from six laps to four, the odds were stacked against all three Relentless by TAS Suzuki riders, positioned on rows three, four and five. Anstey again got the better start of the trio but Seeley, holding the expectations of an 100,000 strong local crowd, forced his way through, and onto the back of Honda duo Easton and McGuinness at mid distance, guaranteeing a grandstand finish.
Seeley led onto the final nine-mile lap but Easton took up the initiative on the brakes into Metropole with only the two mile Coast Road section to conquer. Seeley wasn’t prepared to settle for second place, putting the nose of his GSX-R1000 Superbike under the Scotsman at the very next turn – before demonstrating his pure road racing prowess to take a very famous victory. In pursuit of the Honda pair, the Relentless by TAS Suzuki rider also upped the lap record to a staggering 121.875mph [4mins 24.960sec] on lap three.
“I suppose it hasn’t really sunk in yet that I’ve broken Phillip McCallen’s 13-year-old record,” said Seeley, “but I came here for wins this week and the NW200 Superbike race is the one every rider wants to take home; now it’s mine! I really enjoyed the celebrations with the team and it was great to see what it meant to the fans at the end – they were cheering like a football crowd in the grandstands.