Sport

Alastair Seeley head and shoulders above the rest

Racers at the North West 200
Willis Marshall

CARRICKFERGUS rider Alastair Seeley is on course to equal or better Robert Dunlop’s all-time number of race wins at the North West 200.

The ‘Wee Wizard’ is in a class of his own around the triangle circuit, and with Seeley poised to start five races today, who would bet against the Carrickfergus rider equalling Phillip McCallen’s five wins in a day at the North West 200?

It might seem a tall order, but with Seeley sitting on 13 North West wins to date, he could extend that to 18 come this evening.

That may seem like a bridge too far, but the Tyco Racing rider has already proved during practice this week and in Thursday night’s Supersport 600 race, that he is simply head and shoulders above the rest.

Seeley’s performances already this week have been nothing short of pure magic and the Carrickfergus rider’s ability to turn up the wick whenever he feels like it appears to be getting on the nerves of some of his competitors.

Seeley’s Tyco BMW team-mate, the flamboyant Guy Martin appeared to hit the frustration button during Thursday’s practice session when interviewed by BBC’s Stephen Watson when he was clearly annoyed with the event, calling the circuit “boring”.

He said that he was “bored to the back teeth with flat out sections and chicanes around the circuit”.

Martin, who has still to win around the triangle circuit, may just be getting a little hot under the collar with his team-mate’s success at the North West, and who would blame him?

Seeley will, however, come under huge pressure from a host of other riders, with Glenn Irwin from Carrickfergus posing a major threat today in the second Supersport 600 race.

Irwin, a circuit newcomer, led Seeley in Thursday night’s opening Supersport 600 race before his Gearlink Kawasaki struck mechanical problems mid-race.

Should Irwin get his Kawasaki back up and running today, he will no doubt be throwing the kitchen sink at the race win.

Seeley could be forced to have to dig deep to keep his fellow Carrickfergus rider at bay. Another major challenge to Seeley’s supremacy will come from Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop in today’s races. The Milwaukee Yamaha rider seemed to be struggling with his Milwaukee Superbike in practice but the fiery Dunlop showed that he will be biting at Seeley’s heels after he finished second to him in the first Supersport 600 race on Thursday night.

Michael Dunlop will not settle for second place and will give it his all, but like brother William and many of the other top road racers this year, they will not want to jeopardise next month’s Isle of Man TT Races which is clearly top of their to-do lists.

Add in the likes of John McGuinness, Ian Hutchinson, Bruce Anstey, Gary Johnson and Conor Cummins and the field of riders is as good as it can get, but in my eyes, Seeley has the beating of them all.

Ballymoney’s William Dunlop, also part of Seeley’s Tyco BMW Team may find the going just a little tough today after his heavy spill of Chris Dowd’s R6 Yamaha during Thursday practice. Dunlop did start Thursday evening’s Supersport 600 race but retired on lap three.

With over 100,000 race fans due to converge on the north coast today, they could be in for a real record breaking treat if Alastair Seeley gets his own way. I believe Seeley will notch up three race wins today and, in doing so, make him the most successful rider in North West 200 history. Six races are on the cards today, two Superbike, two Superstock, second Supertwins and second Supersport 600 races. Roads close this morning at 9.30am and will open no later than 7.30pm.

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