2022 North West 200 | Alastair Seeley unstoppable in rainy SSP, SSTK win

Alastair Seeley keeps his cool in damp conditions to reel off a 25th and 26th career victory on the North West 200 in the Supersport and Superstock races

Alastair Seeley - IFS Yamaha [credit: Pacemaker Belfast/North West 200]

Alastair Seeley maintained his excellent record on the North West 200 by shrugging off tricky wet conditions to secure back-to-back victories in the Supersport and Superstock races on Thursday evening.

The IFS Yamaha rider - steering an R6 in the delayed and restarted Supersport race and an R1 in his Superstock outing - kept his cool in evolving damp weather to clinch a 25th and 26th career win around the 8.9-mile circuit.

Both of the event’s blue riband Superbike races will take place on Saturday after Thursday’s Race 1 was postponed due to the weather and fading light.

North West 200 Superstock Race 1

With damp, rainy conditions delaying the Supersport start and keeping things sketchy throughout, Seeley was made to work hard for victory after engaging in a head-to-head with Davey Todd, the Milenco by Padgett’s Honda rider flexing his competitiveness by taking an early lead before a red flag - caused by debris on track - halted proceedings on lap two

Picking up where he left off at the restart for the shortened four-lap encounter, Todd sprinted into an early advantage, followed by Seeley, who’d reel him back in over the course of the opening lap before snaking through as the pair entered the second lap.

With Todd’s bike seemingly favouring a speed-orientated set-up, the pair were swapping positions through laps two and three, with the Honda back in front down the long back straight, only for Seeley to again out-manoeuvre him through the more twisting sections.

However, the pivotal moment would ultimately come towards the end of the penultimate lap when Seeley - having again been out-dragged by Todd - found a gap up the inside of Millbank. When Todd attempted to go with him on the outside, the Honda man would be forced to back out, losing him momentum and allowing his rival the gap he needed to sprint home to victory.

Todd held onto second place, despite a determined last lap offence by veteran ex-MotoGP rider Jeremy McWilliams, who nosed in front briefly with a pass at Church before his rival swept back through.

Andy McLean collected fourth having seen his hopes of a podium dashed by running off across the grass at Millbank coming into the final lap, while Connor Cummins completed the top five, ahead of James HIllier and Dean Harrison.

North West 200 Supersport Race 1

With little time to savour his Supersport success, Seeley was back out again for the six-lap Superstock encounter, the Ulsterman making the most of his track time to get a good start and opening up an advantage over the opening lap that he’d hold to the flag.

Similarly, Todd made the most of his knowledge of the damp patches to chase him home in another - albeit distant - second position, some 12 seconds down on his rival.

In third place, Richard Cooper reeled off a lonely third place finish on the Hawk Suzuki, ahead of Todd’s team-mate Conor Cummins, Bathams BMW’s Michael Rutter and Marty Lennon.

Seeley’s task had been made somewhat easier by pole man Glenn Irwin opting to play it safe in the dicey conditions and sit out the Superstock race with a view to focusing on the headline Superbike encounters he will also start from the front of the grid aboard the factory Honda.

Meanwhile, Peter Hickman’s frustrating North West 200 continued with hard tyre gamble in the Superstock race that forced him to pit at the end of the opening lap to retire.