As many expected, Alastair Seeley was a class apart in the opening race of the 2012 Relentless International North West 200.
The Tyco TAS Suzuki rider dominated the LiveWire Solutions Superstock six-lapper to cross the line a whopping 22.51s ahead of his rivals.
Declared a wet race, the pack started the race on wet tyres but the sun was out by the end of the second lap and it was a battle to keep tyres in good shape for the next four laps on the drying track.
Seeley had no problems with his Pirellis and said: “I felt comfortable out there. I passed Ryan on the first lap into University and I could hear him behind me at Mathers but I stretched the lad out of there. I got a lead and then it was question of conserving my tyre.”
Behind Seeley was one hell of a scrap with Lee Johnston scoring a brilliant second place on the Millsport Racing Ducati Pangiale after scrapping with Cameron Donald, Ryan Farquhar, Italian Stefano Bonetti and James Hillier.
Johnston, a top class short circuit racer but in only his second full NW200, said: “It’s really good to be up here. I’m racing with roads heroes like Cameron Donald and Ryan Farquhar. I’m like a kid in sweet shop. It’s taken a load of work on the new bike to get up here so big thanks to the team.”
The scrap for second was so fierce the organisers called it completely wrong and initially gave Bonetti third place. It was only after being advised by the media that they realised it was Wilson Craig Honda rider Cameron Donald who was third.
The Italian had done his TV interviews and was about to receive the trophy before they acknowledge Donald was the real third place man and he was quickly ushered to the podium.
Farquhar, Bonetti and Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki’s James Hillier completed the top six. Michael Rutter was seventh on the Bathams Kawasaki, starting from the second wave. He was one of several top riders caught out by changing conditions in qualifying.