NW200: Alastair Seeley chasing milestone 25th victory as racing returns for first time since 2019

Alastair Seeley is aiming to add another victory to his unrivalled record in the Supersport class at the North West 200 with a lucky 13th success in Thursday's evening’s opening race of the 2022 meeting.

By Kyle White
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 7:00 am

Of Seeley’s all-time record of 24 wins around the ‘Triangle’ course, 12 have come in the middleweight class, which is hardly surprising given his pedigree as a former British Supersport champion.

The Carrickfergus man may have failed to register a win at the North West in 2019, ending an exceptional record of at least one success each year since his breakthrough victory in 2008, but Seeley was right in the hunt in the first Supersport race until a mistake on the final lap at the Juniper Hill chicane led him to crash out.

An engine failure in the second race ended his prospects early, but Seeley will be eager to make amends at his favourite hunting ground three years after the event was last held.

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Carrickfergus man Alastair Seeley has won 12 times in the Supersport class at the North West 200.

The 42-year-old is unbeaten on the IFS Yamaha R6 in the Ulster Superbike Championship this year and is still the Supersport lap record holder at the NW200, setting a benchmark of 117.913mph in 2018.

Several of his rivals, most notably Lee Johnston, have been racing at a higher level in the British Supersport championship, but Seeley doesn’t feel they will have gained too much of an advantage.

“With BSB, the riders who are here have only had two rounds, so they’ve not really had that much extra mileage,” Seeley said.

“We’ve been racing at home and we’ve had two or three rounds of the Ulster Superbike Championship and won every race.

“In those races when I’ve got to the front I’ve just kept pushing and pushing because that’s how it is at BSB – you don’t get any chance to relax.

“If we can carry that momentum over to the North West it would be nice. The bikes are working well, I’ve got a good team behind me and I’m feeling 100 per cent fit.”

Johnston shades favouritism for a repeat of his 2019 Supersport win on the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha, with the Huddersfield-based Fermanagh arriving in Portrush on the back of four straight podium finishes at the opening two rounds of the British Supersport Championship, including three runner-up results.

The 33-year-old was fastest in Tuesday’s qualifying session by 1.2s from Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Yamaha), with Dean Harrison – another leading contender – third quickest on the DAO Racing Kawasaki.

Johnston said: “It’s basically the same bike that finished second at Oulton Park except that we’ve switched to Dunlop tyres for the roads.

“Conditions weren’t perfect on Tuesday and there was a lot of gravel at Juniper, but it’s nice not to be behind Jack Kennedy [British Supersport Championship leader] for once!”

Davey Todd was a Supersport winner in the wet in 2019 at the North West and is another rider with a big chance on the Milenco by Padgett’s Honda along with team-mate Conor Cummins.

James Hillier will hope to be in the mix on the OMG Yamaha, with Ian Hutchinson (BPE/Russell Racing Yamaha) and Jamie Coward (KTS/Steadplan Yamaha) also on the shortlist.

Tobermore’s Adam McLean has good prospects on the McAdoo Kawasaki while Paul Jordan (PreZ Racing) from Magherafelt was fourth in the wet in 2019.

Former MotoGP podium finisher Jeremy McWilliams could upstage many of his younger opponents when he rides the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Yamaha as the 58-year-old fills in for the injured Mike Browne.

The Supersport race is up first on Thursday evening followed by the opening Superstock and Supertwin events.

Roads close from 9.15am to 3.15pm for final qualifying and again from 5pm to 9pm for racing.