The most successful racer of all time at the fonaCAB International North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils, Alastair Seeley, will be chasing his silver anniversary success at the 90th birthday celebrations of the North coast event on May 12-18.
The Carrickfergus racer already enjoys 24 NW200 wins, adding another treble to his tally in 2018. Mounted on the PBM/Be Wiser Ducati V4RR in this year’s Superbike races and the EHA Yamaha R6 in both Supersport events, Seeley is confident he can claim his 25th victory on the 8.9 mile Triangle circuit.
‘Twenty five would be nice.’ a confident Seeley smiled.
‘I would like to get the job done on Thursday night in the Supersport race because that takes some of the pressure off and anything else we can do will be a bonus.’
The 39 year old will only have four chances for more North West success though as he is not competing in either of the two Superstock races this time around. Riding the Tyco BMW, Seeley won a stunning battle with Peter Hickman in Saturday’s CP Hire backed contest twelve months ago but Paul Bird’s Ducati squad cannot supply a stock spec machine for the 2019 races.
‘When I rode for Tyco BMW the team had bikes available for the superbike and stock races but I would have to ride for three different teams this year and that would mean too much jumping about.’ Seeley explained.
‘I would have three different teams to work with, three different debriefs to attend and three different bikes to set up. Plus three sets of leathers to be constantly changing.’
Instead Seeley will focus his efforts on his EHA Yamaha in the 600cc events and the challenge of finding a race winning set up for the new Ducati on it’s North West debut.
‘I will be able to concentrate all my efforts on the Supersport and Superbike races.’ he said.
Seeley has enjoyed a successful start to his 2019 British Supersport championship campaign with two runner up finishes on the EHA Yamaha to reigning champion, Jack Kennedy at Silverstone’s opening round.
‘It was a strong start, with two solid podium finishes after fighting for the race wins.’ the Carrickfergus rider said.
‘I don’t think the rest of the year will be any different in the series and that type of tight racing has helped get me up to speed for some bar banging at the North West!’
Seeley will have another outing on the EHA Yamaha, which has switched from Ohlins to K-Tech suspension since last season, in round two at Oulton Park this weekend. He is also scheduled to have his first full test outing on the Be Wiser/PBM Ducati next week a few days before NW200 practice begins.
‘Apart from a couple of spins on Josh Brookes’s bike at the BSB test at Portimao in March I haven’t ridden the Ducati.’ Seeley explained.
His initial impressions after the brief ride in Portugal were positive though.
‘It felt nice to ride but not really, really fast which is a good thing.’ he smiled.
‘Something that doesn’t feel fast but is fast is ideal for the North West and the power delivery is very smooth and linear.’
The Carrick racer has also been keeping tabs on the development of the V4RR with the PBM team’s BSB riders, Brookes and Scott Redding.
‘Josh and I were teammates for a couple of years at Tyco and I have spent a lot of time talking and listening to him about the Ducati.’ Seeley explained.
‘There were problems at Silverstone but there are new parts arriving all the time to help with development. Josh was fastest at the BSB test at Oulton last week and seems to have hit a sweet spot with the bike now. The team is planning a two day test for me next week before the North West begins and we will need that track time to get set up and feel comfortable because this is a brand new bike.’