Suzuki star Alastair Seeley chases North West 200 glory

By Richard PetrieBBC Sport NI at the NW 200
Alastair Seeley and his Tyco Suzuki team are aiming for more success at the North West 200
Alastair Seeley and his Tyco Suzuki team are aiming for more success at the North West 200

Alastair Seeley is aiming to rewrite the history books when he takes to the grid for five races at Saturday's North West 200.

The Carrickfergus rider demolished the opposition to secure victory in Thursday night's Superstock opener and is a hot tip to dish out more of the same.

Seeley has Phillip McCallen's 20-year-old record of five wins at one meeting firmly in his sights and could even better that tally if he were to go through the card on his fleet of Tyco Suzukis.

"I have made no secret of the fact that I am only interested in winning this week," said Seeley, who now boasts six successes at the Triangle circuit.

"Some of the other guys may have their minds on the Isle of Man TT in a few weeks' time but this is my one big road race of the year and I'm out to make the most of it.," he added.

The 'Wee Wizard' has claimed pole position for both Superbike races and the two Supersport events, while few would bet against him adding a further Superstock victory following his commanding display on damp roads in the opening race of the speed spectacular.

With better weather forecast for Saturday, the Northern Ireland rider is unlikely to have it all his own way however.

Fellow Suzuki rider Guy Martin, Australian Cameron Donald and Honda ace Gary Johnson are all out to break their duck at the north coast event and the trio have all shown up well in practice.

William Dunlop is another who has performed strongly in qualifying but he is reported to have pulled out of the Superstock race after his bike overheated in Thursday's opener.

However, Dunlop is happy with the set-up of his other Wilson Craig Honda bikes and he could challenge strongly for a victory.

His best chance of success should come in the Supersport outings in which he has challenged at the other international road races in recent years.

Brother Michael is still getting accustomed to his new McAdoo Racing machinery, but is capable of adding to his solitary North West win in any of the three classes.

"My plans for this year came together quite late so I'm still trying to get my bikes set up just as I want them - we're heading in the right direction, though" said Michael.

A win for either of the Dunlops would certainly prove the most popular outcome with the majority of the thousands of fans in attendance.

Twelve-times winner Michael Rutter will be another with records on his mind as he bids to become the most successful Superbike rider in the history of the event.

The Midlands rider is currently level on nine wins with the legendary Joey Dunlop, so one win would see him go top of the pile in that class.

That victory would also see him join Dunlop in second place on the all-time winners' list.

John McGuinness is best known as a TT specialist, but he will be eager to head to the Isle of Man with some wins under his belt.

The 'Morecambe Missile' is on board the best machinery that Japanese giants Honda can provide and he enjoys the challenges offered by the nine-mile seaside course.

"I have been coming to the North West for 20 years and it is one event I always look forward to - not just for the racing, but for the whole atmosphere surrounding it.

"I missed last year because of a clash with a World Endurance round, and I was a bit nervous coming back, but I managed to find my feet again pretty quickly," explained the 40-year-old.

Ian Hutchinson has recovered sufficiently from two major leg fractures, which sidelined him for 18 months, and he is likely to save his best efforts for the Superbike jousts.

New Zealander Bruce Anstey is set to be a frontrunner in all of the classes as he chases his 10th North West win, while Manxman Conor Cummins could spring a surprise as the third rider in the TAS-backed Suzuki team.

Ryan Farquhar will be in confident mood after romping home in the Supertwins class so he could occupy a podium place in the Superbike or Superstock races.

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