Alastair Seeley notched up his 28th victory at the 2023 fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200 on Thursday evening.
The event’s most successful racer fended off a strong challenge from Davey Todd (Milenco Padgett’s Honda) and Michael Dunlop with an emphatic performance on a Synetiq BMW in the Briggs Equipment Superstock race.
The 43 year old broke the lap record twice, setting a new mark of 124.427mph before the red flags came out just after he began his final lap. Honda’s Nathan. Harrison had crashed at Dhu Varren, breaking his collarbone and wrist in a crash that has ruled the young Manx recruit to the Honda Racing squad out of the rest of the meeting.
The triumphant Seeley was delighted with his 10.3 second victory.
“It’s nice to rattle another one out.” Seeley smiled as he celebrated on the podium with his wife Danni and daughter, Olivia.
“It is a match made in heaven [his relationship with TAS Racing]. Philip gave me the opportunity back in 2009 and we brought two titles very quickly. It’s a great team, they are a great bunch of guys with a big family atmosphere and this year we are very happy – and I keep saying that a happy rider is a fast rider.”
That match with the Moneymore-based squad has now produced 15 victories around the 8.9 mile Triangle circuit for the Carrickfergus rider. After setting fastest time during Thursday’s Superbike qualifying session o his Milwaukee BMW, could Saturday see him claim an epic 30th win on the north coast?
Davey Todd’s hopes of thwarting Seeley’s onslaught ended when he overshot Mather’s chicane on his Padgett’s Honda. The reigning British Superstock champion eventually finished 10.3 seconds behind the Ulsterman.
“I made a silly mistake and ran on.” Todd admitted as he looked forward to second encounter with the ‘Wee Wizard’ on Saturday.
“If I can slipstream him then maybe we have half a chance.” he said.
Michael Dunlop completed the podium placings on his MD Racing Honda just 0.3 seconds behind Todd.
“We made a change (to the bike) and it probably wasn’t the right change, and we lost a bit of ground.” the Ballymoney man admitted.
Seeley, Todd and Dunlop had all been involved in a brilliant battle during the opening Strain Engineering Supersport race earlier in the evening.
BPE/ Russell Racing Yamaha riders Richard Cooper and Dean Harrison and Peter Hickman (Trooper Beer Triumph) were also involved in the thrilling scrap with just 1.31 seconds covering all six riders at the chequered flag.
The initial start was aborted after a red flag incident at Mill Road roundabout. Despite setting the fastest lap on his Powermate Tools Ducati during the restart, Alastair Seeley had to play second fiddle to Davey Todd who clinched his second NW200 win on the Milenco Padgett’s Honda.
“I didn’t want to let that one slip away.” Todd, who finished runner-up at the event three times last year, beamed.
“It was really hard to judge on the last lap, but I’m over the moon and that’s a dream. We were touching handlebars and I gave it my all. I didn’t want to see P2 again and I just gave it my all for that top step.”
Richard Cooper claimed the final rostrum spot with Michael Dunlop, finishing fourth, Dean Harrison in fifth and Peter Hickman completing the top six in a race that had the fans on their feet throughout the five laps.
The time lost in dealing with the red flag incidents during the evening’s opening races forced the organisers to abandon plans to run the Milltown Service Station Supertwin race.