Alistair Seeley has broken Robert Dunlop’s win record at the North West 200.
A win in the first race of this year’s event – the Supersport class – saw Seeley pull clear of Dunlop’s record, which had stood since his last win in 2006.
Seeley lined up on pole position following two qualifying sessions and was joined on the front row by Martin Jessopp and Lee Johnston. Conditions were dry and sunny as riders took their positions on the grid and after a sighting lap it was time for racing. Before the lights went out Michael Dunlop’s bike was wheeled off the grid, but he had been due to start down in 16th place.
It was a frenetic race which saw a number of riders, including Jessopp, Johnston, and William Dunlop, lead. Ian Hutchinson was also in the mix and it was him and Seeley going wheel to wheel as they entered the last couple of laps.
On the final lap Seeley pulled clear and there was no stopping him and he raced across the line to claim win number 16 of his North West 200 career. It was his eighth win in the Supersport class – the class he has enjoyed most success in.
Hutchinson was just over a second back in second place with Jessopp securing third from William Dunlop. Dean Harrison was fifth, having been part of the mix in the close fight for podium positions. Johnston eventually finished sixth ahead of James Hillier, John McGuinness, Michael Rutter and a penalised Bruce Anstey. Anstey straight lined the Mill Road Roundabout and was given a 10 second penalty as a result.
Malachi Mitchell-Thomas was the leading newcomer home, finishing an impressive 11th in his debut race on the North Coast.
Not content with just breaking Robert Dunlop’s win record, Seeley set the fastest lap in ideal conditions which also was a new lap record. The top three riders broke the existing lap record of 117.077mph. The new record is now 117.835mph.