Alastair Seeley: NW200 record holder hopes event may take place later in year

Alastair Seeley holds the Superstock and Supersport lap records at the North West 200
Alastair Seeley holds the Superstock and Supersport lap records at the North West 200

Alastair Seeley, who has won a record 24 North West 200 races, hopes the 2020 event may still take place later in the year after being postponed because of the coronavirus health crisis.

The organisers announced last week that the race meeting would not go ahead in its usual mid-May dates.

However that left open the possibility that it could be rescheduled.

"I look forward to the North West every year. I'd love to see it go ahead at some stage in the year," said Seeley.

The 40-year-old won at least one race at the international event every year from 2008 to 2018 but was looking forward to making amends this year after drawing a blank in terms of both victories and podiums in 2019.

"British Superbike rounds have been postponed too but if this blows over and they can get their calendar shuffled about hopefully we can slot the North West in," added the Carrickfergus rider.

"At the moment it's just a matter of sitting it out, getting on with day to day life as it is and then hopefully we can get some racing done.

"I signed to ride for Bournemouth Kawasaki for the North West 200 and there is an assurance there that if the race doesn't go ahead this year the team have told me they will continue with me for 2021."

Reduced BSB series a possibility

Seeley is also scheduled to compete in the British GP2 class this season with Quattro Team ABM but the first three rounds of that series have been postponed in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

"There are 12 rounds in the British Superbike series but the way things are they may have to look at cancelling rounds or maybe the circuits that we go to twice during the season, like Donington and Oulton Park, we may just go there once," said the ex-British Superstock and Supersport champion.

"You could see a 12-round calendar reduced to eight or nine rounds but it's hard to plan as we just don't know when it will all start again.

"I'm training away on the bicycle and going for runs but obviously it will be a bit of a waste if all the winter training and pre-season comes to nothing."

'No racing means no income'

Like many others, Seeley's income has been adversely affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and he is currently drawing on the reserves accumulated through his successes at the North West over the years, as well as investigating other means of support.

"Being a professional motorcycle racer means that if you don't race you don't earn so as I am effectively self-employed and hoping that the Government help will kick in.

"Racing is a performance-based thing so if you do well you reap the rewards. But no racing means no income.

"Luckily I have managed a few North West wins, have been able to tuck a bit away and I can live off that for now.

"That figure is obviously going down with expenditure and while it's not panic stations yet I wouldn't like to see it decreasing too much."

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