Alastair Seeley says it would be ‘great honour’ to win the new Robert Dunlop trophy on Saturday at the Vauxhall International North West 200.
The accolade will be presented to the overall Man of the Meeting this year following the conclusion of the day’s racing and Seeley is among the fancied frontrunners to lift the honour.
Dunlop, sadly killed at the North West in 2008, still holds the all-time record of 15 victories around the north coast circuit, but Carrick man Seeley has been edging closer to the Ulster road racing legend’s benchmark, winning ten times since his first success in the Superstock class six years ago.
“Robert was a legend, he was Mr North West,” Seeley said. “It would be a great honour to win the new Robert Dunlop trophy as the Man of the Meeting at this year’s North West.
“I remember sitting on the hedge waving my programme as Robert raced the JPS Norton around here with the flames spitting out of the exhaust.
“He used to say that as long as he could get it stood up and fired out of the corners he could win. I always liked that. But 10 is still a long way away from 15 and I’ve had a few good battles with other Dunlops at the North West as last couple of years!” Seeley added.
“At the end of the day it is all about getting into the right place at the right time on that last lap. You can think that it is all going great at Metropole, that you are in a good place to win, and then you lose it all on the run from Black Hill to Juniper. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
Seeley will ride his British Supersport Mar-Train Yamaha R6 plus Kawasaki ZX-10R machinery in the Superstock and Superbike classes this week and is determined to maintain his record of winning at least once at the famous event every year since 2008.
“I would like to keep that going,” said the 34-year-old. “I’m not riding a Supertwin so I will only have four races on the Saturday. The whole five-in-a-day thing just added pressure before.
“The field is very, very strong this year and I think those clean sweeps like Phillip’s [McCallen] at the North West in 1992 and Hutchy’s [Ian Hutchinson] at the TT in 2010 don’t happen every day. They are freakish really.”
Opening practice gets under way on Tuesday, May 13, with roads closed from 9.15am-2.45pm.