Alastair Seeley took his 17th North West 200 victory under the sun in Saturday’s opening supersport race, pulling the pin with two laps to go to beat Martin Jessopp by 6.5 seconds after Ian Hutchinson was forced to retire.
Martin Jessopp took the lead off the line with five bikes going on to scrap for the top spot into station corner but it was Lee Johnston who came out on top after the first lap to lead Jessopp, Rutter and Seeley with William Dunlop also in the mix.
The order began to settle on lap two as Johnston looked content in the lead with William Dunlop close behind, but Alastair Seeley drafted past the pair into Metropole to take over at the front.
Ian Hutchinson was the man on the charge into the second half of the race as William Dunlop was forced to retire, but his charge through the pack didn’t go without incident as a hard pass on Johnston into Juniper forced the diminutive Ulsterman to go straight on at the chicane to avoid a collision.
Johnston was given a ten second time penalty for cutting the chicane, ruling him out of what looked to be a podium for the East Coast Construction Triumph man, who has since protested the result.
Seeley pulled the pin, setting a lap record on the fourth lap, as Hutchinson led the chase but the pressure was off when the CAME BPT rider was forced to retire with his R6 overheating leaving Seeley to take the win from Jessopp by 6.5 seconds.
Peter Hickman took a strong podium on the Trooper Kawasaki after a heated last lap battle with Malachi Mitchell Thomas.