Alastair Seeley has renewed his ties with British championship team Gearlink Kawasaki to contest the Supersport races at this year’s Vauxhall International North West 200.
The 36-year-old Carrick rider is bidding to become the most successful rider ever to race the 8.9-mile ‘Triangle’ course after equalling Robert Dunlop’s all-time record of 15 victories last May.
Seeley will be joined in the team on the ZX-6R by British Supersport frontrunner Ben Wilson, who returns to the event for the second time after making his debut in 2015.
The ‘Wee Wizard’ previously clinched the spoils for Gearlink Kawasaki in 2013, when he powered home to deny Michael Dunlop on corrected time after starting from the second group.
It was Seeley’s ninth victory, but he was denied the chance to add to his tally after the meeting was abandoned for the second time in three years due to torrential rain.
The Ulster rider, who will make the switch to the MCE British Superbike Championship this year after parting company from Moneymore team Tyco BMW, will also work alongside former crew Gearlink crew chief Arron Phillips as he bids for a repeat of his 2015 double in the middleweight class.
“I’m very happy to be riding for the family team of Michael and Norma [de Bidaph] at Gearlink Kawasaki again, plus back working with my former crew chief Arron Phillips,” said Seeley.
“I hope we can start where we left off at the North West 200 in 2013, where I won with them. As the bike model hasn’t changed for a number of years, hopefully I can just dial in my previous settings and be good to go from the start.
“Anything I’ve asked for at the event this year, Michael has agreed and he assures me that we will have strong motors, which I’m buzzing about.”
Seeley bagged a treble last year with two Supersport victories on the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R600 and a win in the sole Superbike race on the team’s S1000RR BMW to draw level with Dunlop.
The two-time British champion has a stunning record of winning at least once every time he has raced at the North West since he claimed his maiden triumph in 2008, four years after his debut.
Seeley has yet to announce his British championship plans for 2016 but is set to ride BMW machinery for Lee Hardy’s RAF Reserves team in BSB and at the North West.
Gearlink team owner Michael de Bidaph hopes to make amends this spring after missing Seeley’s victory on his striking green and orange Kawasaki in 2013 and is confident he has the right man to deliver the goods on the big stage once again.
“It is really exciting for the team to have secured such a strong line-up to compete at the North West this year,” he said.
“Alastair rode our Supersport bike there in 2013 but due to unfortunate circumstances, Norma and I were unable to attend, so it will be great to be fully involved this year. It was Ben’s first time there last year so now that he knows his way around I am sure he will also be very competitive.
“Ben and Alastair both had a successful season with us in the British Supersport Championship in 2013 and it would be great to get some strong results at the North West.”
The event, which takes place from May 10-14, received a shot in the arm during the week with confirmation that Vauxhall would continue its title sponsorship in 2016.