NW200 Supersport: Seeley takes dramatic opening race win

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Alastair Seeley has taken a dramatic win in the opening race of the 2014 Vauxhall North West 200, coming back from a first-lap incident that dropped him back to sixteenth and left to pick his way through the field.

Michael Rutter was the early race leader, and a crash at York Corner dropped Lee Johnston to the tarmac and forced Seeley to take evasive action to demote him backwards down the field.

Rutter was able to break away with BSB racer and former WSS winner Josh Brookes, battling the Australian until mechanical problems dropped him out of contention for the lead and leaving Brookes to fight with Rutter’s Smiths Triumph teammate Gary Johnson and the Tyco Suzuki duo of Guy Martin and William Dunlop.

With multiple race leaders, the battle was frantic, until a series of record pace laps allowed the diminutive Northern Irishman to close their lead and make his move on Martin to take the lead on the Coast Road.

Brookes held on for third behind Martin, taking his first podium on the roads, while Dunlop was fourth and Keith Amor fifth, despite a ten second penalty for overshooting the Mathers Cross chicane.

Michael Dunlop was a notable retirement, pulling into the pits at the end of one lap on his MD Racing Honda, while John McGuinness was a non-starter as he allows his wrist further time to recover ahead of Saturday’s racing.

Speaking after the race, Seeley said: “I could just see a bunch of guys ahead of me after I had to do a U-turn at York. I could see everyone ahead of me, and the bike’s pretty fast, so I was able to just claw back wee bits here and there before getting a good dice with Guy on the last lap. When I started to get closer to the front it started to get harder to pass people, but I just chipped away and made my gains in the braking areas.”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer