Alastair Seeley became the fourth most successful rider at the North West 200 with his second win of the day in the Superstock race.
Seeley spent almost the entire of the race at the front end of the field, passing Michael Rutter for the lead on the opening lap at the roundabout. Rutter then dropped back a touch, allowing Martin Jessopp to hold second place while Rutter duelled with Michael Dunlop.
Jessopp then began losing pace, being passed by Rutter who then set his sights on hunting down Seeley. Meanwhile, Dunlop and Horst Saiger, the surprise package of the race, were held up by the lagging Jessopp. Dunlop eventually passed Jessopp, while Saiger continued his duel with the BMW all the way to the flag.
Back at the front, Rutter caught up to Seeley, resulting in another close battle between the two, only to catch a backmarker at the exact wrong moment, holding both riders up and allowing Dunlop to close right in to make it three riders for the win with just one lap to go.
Using the slipstream of two bikes ahead of him, Dunlop dove in to the lead early in the lap, while Seeley and Rutter fought behind, desperate to find a way through. The three were incredibly close through the chicanes, with Dunlop and Rutter almost banging fairings. It was with just a couple of corners left in the race that Seeley made his move, taking the lead with Rutter following him through in to second, demoting Dunlop to the bottom step of the podium.
“Going in to the final lap I didn’t see anyone behind Michael [Rutter],” said Seeley, who took his 12th win at the North West, making him the fourth most successful rider at the 200 of all time. “Then going down the straight I saw the other Michael come flying passed and I though ‘well there’s the game plan out the window.’ But we were solid and after making my move I just thought I’d hold a tight line and stay defensive. It’s very special to be doing this, we’ve won two and now we just need to work hard tomorrow to just keep getting better – the bike’s never perfect.”
“I tried all I could, I just wish I was 10 years younger,” said a visibly tired Rutter. “Alastair rode a perfect race, he deserved it. I did all I could, I tried my best.”
Meanwhile, Michael Dunlop seemed unimpressed with his rivals racecraft, his body language on the podium suggesting he was unhappy with the result. “That’s the way it is,” said Dunlop. “When I’m on my own I’m grand but riding with these BSB boys there’s just no corner speed. They just go lunging.”