Alistair Seeley took this 13th victory around the North West 200 course on Thursday evening.
His Supersport win saw him draw level with Michael Rutter and Joey Dunlop in terms of overall victories, with Robert Dunlop’s record of 15 within reach on Saturday. The Tyco rider started on pole position but initially lost out to fast starting newcomer Glenn Irwin who came from the second row to lead. The race started to shape up as a closely contested battle bseetween the pair as the lead changed hands but it was brought to an abrupt end when Irwin’s Gearlink Kawasaki gave up on the third lap.
Seeley set a new lap record on his way to victory, leaving Michael Dunlop, Lee Johnston and Bruce Anstey with no answer for his Tyco Suzuki. Dunlop finished seven and a half seconds back while Johnston got the better of Anstey to take the final podium position. This means that Anstey will have to wait until Saturday to try and continue his impressive record of at least one podium finish at every North West 200 since 2002.
Behind the top four it was Dean Harrison who came home in fifth ahead of Conor Cummins, Keith Amor, James Hillier, Jamie Hamilton and John McGuinness. McGuinness dropped to tenth following a ten second penalty for failing to stop at a chicane. The rules stipulate that if you overshoot a chicane you must stop and wait to be let back on track, which McGuinness did not do. James Neesom picked up the same penalty.
One of the favourites going into the race was William Dunlop but he retired after just two laps after encountering mechanical issues on his CD Racing Yamaha. The local favourite had high sided during practice earlier in the day and was spotted limping in the paddock but returned to race in the evening. Other riders who failed to finish included Dan Kneen, Daley Mathison, Davy Morgan and Michael Rutter.