North West 200 2017: Alastair Seeley hopes to regain Superbike winning feeling
|North West 200 international road races|
|Dates: Tuesday 9 May-Saturday 13 May Venue: Triangle Circuit, Portstewart, Coleraine, Portrush|
|Coverage: All practices and races live on the BBC sport website and BBC Radio Ulster; Highlights on BBC One NI Friday 12 May, Sunday 14 May and Monday 15 May|
Alastair Seeley is aiming to rediscover that winning feeling in the Superbike class when he competes on a Tyco BMW at this week's North West 200 road races.
Three of the Carrickfergus rider's record 17 wins have come in the 'big bike' races, his most recent victory coming with the Moneymore team in 2015.
"I want to start winning the main races on the Superbikes again," said Seeley.
"There is no better machinery to be on and I know there have been improvements since I rode the bike two years ago."
The 37-year-old was handed a welcome opportunity to earn some track time on the BMW in the recent British Superbike round at Oulton Park, after being drafted in as a replacement for the injured Davide Giugliano.
Familiar mounts for NW record-breaker
"I'm also riding for Gearlink Kawasaki in the Supersport races, with whom I have enjoyed success, so I'm comfortable with all the bikes I am on, having ridden them before," added Seeley.
"I haven't set myself a target of wins but as long as I have fast competitive bikes under me I have every opportunity of winning. I've been fortunate in that respect and hopefully that will continue.
"A lot of the top fast guys from British Championship are now coming to compete but these teams can give me everything I need to get round the Triangle circuit as quick as I can."
Having overtaken the late Robert Dunlop as the most successful rider ever at the event, the former British Supersport and Superstock champion now has Phillip McCallen's benchmark of 28 rostrum finishes firmly in his sights.
"The podium record is one I would like to have and I'll be chasing that down but the top step always tastes sweeter than the rest.
"When I started out in 2004, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would achieve what I have done."
Quality field assembled on the north coast
Seeley will face stiff competition in the Superbike races from course lap record holder Michael Dunlop, who has two triumphs in the blue riband class to his name, but this year switches to a Suzuki as part of the Bennett's Hawk racing outfit.
British Superbike frontrunner Glenn Irwin is also likely to have a big say at the front of proceedings in only his second appearance at the race aboard the Be Wiser Ducati, while Ian Hutchinson and Peter Hickman should spearhead the English challenge.
'Forty-somethings' Bruce Anstey, Michael Rutter and John McGuinness will fancy adding to their win tallies, while Dean Harrison, Martin Jessopp, Dan Kneen, James Hillier, Gary Johnson, Lee Johnston and William Dunlop are all potential podium finishers across the range of classes.
This year's meeting also marks the return of television personality Guy Martin, who secured a ride as part of the Honda Racing Team for the 2017 season.
Following the cancellation of the feature Superbike race for various reasons in recent years, the main event of the day has been brought forward in the scheduled programme for Saturday's racing.
Practice and race schedule
Tuesday 9 May - Roads close for practice from 09:15 BST to 15:00 BST
Thursday 11 May - Roads close for practice from 09:15 to 15:00 and from 17:00 to 21:00 for racing
Race 1 - Supersport (6 laps); Race 2 - Superstock (6 laps); Race 3 - Supertwin (4 laps).
Saturday 13 May - Roads close for racing from 09:15 BST to 21:00
Race 1 - Supersport (6 laps); Race 2- Superbike (7 laps); Race 3 - Supertwin (4 laps); Race 4 - Superbike (7 laps); Race 5 - Superstock (6 laps).