Mar-Train Racing’s Alastair Seeley put the finishing touches to his pre-event preparations for the Vauxhall International North West 200 during a final test at Kirkistown in Co Down on Thursday.
Seeley, who is chasing an 11th victory at the 8.9-mile Triangle circuit on the tenth anniversary of his debut at the seaside meeting, seized the opportunity for more track on the Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike and Superstock machines he hopes will fire him to more success at the famous event, which is now in its 85th year.
The 34-year-old from Carrick also had a run out on his British Supersport Yamaha R6 at Kirkistown and was fortunate to benefit from dry weather for several hours before the rain arrived.
Seeley told the News Letter: “It was good to actually get a bit of dry time for a few hours and we got done what we had to do today. I had a spin on all three bikes and I’m coming away feeling happy enough.
“We knew the rain was coming in so we didn’t take any breaks from about 10.30am to around 1pm or 1.30pm and we stayed on the bikes and got the job done.
“I rode the big bikes previously at Almeria during pre-season for a couple of days and then we had another test also at Cartagena, so all in all I’ve had about three or four days testing on the Superbike,” added the two-time British champion.
“We were mostly finalising a decision on tyres today and ironing out the ideas that we came away from Spain with to make things better again, so everything went okay and we’re happy enough to be wheeling the bikes out for first practice on Tuesday.”
Seeley managed to add another two wins to his tally at the North West in the Thursday evening Superstock and Supersport races in 2013 to reach an impressive ten victories on the north coast - three behind Michael Rutter and Joey Dunlop and five wins off the all-time record held by Robert Dunlop.
He was joined at the test by Bradford’s Dean Harrison, who will also ride in the blue and white Mar-Train livery for team owner Tim Martin in the Supersport class this season at the North West, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix, plus the Southern 100 and Scarborough meetings.
Don’t miss the News Letter every day throughout race week for daily reports on all the latest news from the Causeway Coast and make sure you get your copy of our weekly motorcycle pull-out Keep ’er Lit, which switches from its usual Tuesday slot to Thursday, May 15 with a special preview of the big race.
We’ll also have a special anniversary supplement in the News Letter on Friday, May 16 marking the 85th birthday of the event and carrying all the action from Thursday’s final qualifying and the first Supersport, Supertwin and Superstock races.