North West 200: Alastair Seeley's five favourite race wins over the Triangle circuit

By Richard PetrieBBC Sport NI
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's name has become synonymous with the North West 200 international road race over the past decade and beyond.

The Carrickfergus rider has won a record 24 races around the Triangle circuit - nine more than previous record holder, the late Robert Dunlop.

Some of the other statistics from the 40-year-old's North West CV are mind boggling.

Seeley won at least one race every year at the event from 2008 to 2018.

Twelve of his 24 wins have come in the middleweight Supersport class - including at least one triumph in the 600ccs in each of nine consecutive years, a sequence commencing in 2010.

Add to that eight Superstock wins and four Superbike successes, plus the fact that The 'Wee Wizard' has taken wins for four different manufacturers - Kawasaki, BMW, Suzuki and Yamaha - and it is not hard to see why Seeley has earned the reputation of being the man to beat for much of his North West career.

Renowned for his racecraft along the closing Coast Road section, he has also set a number of lap records - including currently holding the benchmark for the Superstock and Supersport classes.

The former British Superstock and Supersport champion's trailblazing efforts also see him hold the record for the most podiums at the meeting - 36.

But for inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances the race has encountered in recent years, his tally of both wins and rostrums would almost certainly have been greater.

Fourteen of his successes have come in the colours of Hector and Philip Neill's TAS Racing outfit in its various guises and one win even came on corrected time, having started in the second wave of riders after encountering problems in qualifying for the Supersport class in 2013.

With this year's North West cancelled, we thought this an appropriate time to ask the meeting's most successful rider to reflect on his five favourite race wins.

2008 Superstock

Alastair Seeley took his maiden North West 200 win in the 2008 Superstocks

Seeley's first win came in 2008 - a year where a sombre mood hung over the event following the death of the then most successful competitor, Robert Dunlop, in a crash at Mather's Cross on the opening lap of Thursday's 250cc practice session.

Two days later, Robert's son Michael took a hugely emotional win in the same class, warding off Christian Elkin and John McGuinness after a four-lap three-way battle around the nine-mile course.

Seeley's success came aboard a JMF-backed R1 Yamaha in the Superstock category following a close dice with Bruce Anstey and Gary Johnson.

Australian Cameron Donald made up ground to lead into Juniper Chicane on the last lap, only to be passed by Anstey and Seeley. Anstey ran in too deep however, blocked Donald and Seeley took the win.

In his own words: "I was up against Bruce and Cameron on the TAS Suzukis and it was all nip and tuck until the last chicane. Bruce overshot as he passed Cameron and that allowed me to nip in for my first win, which was very special."

2010 Superbike race two

Alastair Seeley becomes the first NI winner of a Superbike race at the North West for 13 years

This win saw Seeley become the first Northern Ireland rider to occupy the top step of the podium in a Superbike race at the event since Phillip McCallen in 1997.

He led for much of the race on his TAS Suzuki, before Scot Stuart Easton hit the front at Metropole on the final lap, only to leave a gap for Seeley to respond at Church Corner, an advantage that he held to the flag.

Seeley also won a Supersport race at the 2010 meeting.

In his own words: "To win that race in front of that crowd, in front of the grandstand, was something else. I knew all about the record and so did everyone else - the place erupted like a football stadium does when a goal goes in."

2012 Superstock race one

Seeley was a comfortable winner of the Thursday Superstock race in 2012

Having become a double British champion by adding the 2011 British Supersport title to his British Superstock success two years earlier, Seeley again excelled by transferring his short circuit ability to the roads.

He took victory by a remarkable 22.5 seconds in damp conditions in the Superstock race over Lee Johnston. A completely dominant performance by the County Antrim man.

Victories in the Supersport and Superbike categories meant Seeley secured the the first of his four hat-tricks and his burgeoning reputation as a major force to be reckoned with at the North West was further enhanced.

In his own words: "That was quite special. It felt like I was just out for a spin round the Triangle on my own. To see on my pit-board that I had a lead of that margin was a bit surreal."

2014 Supersport race one

Seeley fights his way from the back of the field to win a Supersport race in 2014

Seeley had to make his way through the entire field of riders to clinch a memorable triumph on the Thursday evening of racing on the Mar-Train Yamaha.

Lee Johnston slipped off at the hairpin on the opening lap and Seeley collided with him, making his way up to 17th place by the end of the first circuit, but less than five seconds from the front.

He closed the gap incrementally and by lap five had taken the lead, eventually winning by one second from Guy Martin, with Josh Brookes third.

Seeley also won the Superstock race that evening to complete a double.

In his own words: "Lee tucked the front and pushed me wide at York Corner and I was dead last. When I got going and exited the corner I could see the last man leaving the Mill Road roundabout in the distance.

"I had to make up all that time on the leaders so I just rode hard and broke the lap record on successive laps to win the race. I came from so far back, it was a really satisfying win."

2016 Supersport race one

Seeley's record-breaking 16th North West win came in the Supersport class

This was the win that ensured Seeley became the most successful rider ever around the Portstewart-Coleraine-Portrush course, surpassing the late Robert Dunlop as the all-time record holder for the most wins.

Seeley found himself third at the end of lap four, behind Ian Hutchinson and Martin Jessopp, after leading during the early stages.

He moved back to the head of affairs with the fastest lap of the race on lap five and then upped the pace further by three seconds to set a new lap record on his sixth circuit, eventually crossing the line with a second to spare.

Two days later he would make it a double in the Supersport class and 12 months later he would win four races in one year at the meeting for the first time.

In his own words: "This win has to be my overall number one, my favourite, because of the significance - just that feeling of achieving and accomplishing something historic - a record 16th win at the North West.

"For someone who just started coming to the event to enjoy the spectacle and to enjoy riding it, to rack up that number of wins felt incredible."

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