Alastair Seeley’s run of success at the North West 200 continued afternoon with a second victory in the Superstock race making it win number 29 around the 8.9-mile circuit.
Riding the Synetiq BMW, Seeley took over the lead early on in the first lap and was never headed again despite the close attentions of Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Honda) and Davey Todd (Milenco by Padgetts Honda).
It was Dunlop who eventually took second and with Todd’s race ending in a plume of smoke on the final lap, it was Dean Harrison (DAO Racing Kawasaki) who completed the podium in third.
Cut to five laps on safety grounds, Dunlop led off the line to lead into York and it was Seeley who grabbed second, diving up the inside of Todd as Harrison slotted into fourth. Seeley wasted no time in getting to the front either and squeezed ahead of Dunlop going into the Mill Road Roundabout.
Seeley still led Todd and Dunlop at the Magic Roundabout and the front three were already breaking clear of the rest of the field which continued to be led by Harrison. He too had broken clear of the pack behind which was led by James Hillier (OMG Racing Yamaha) from Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing BMW) and John McGuinness (Honda Racing).
Seeley’s lead was already 1.7s at the end of the opening lap and whilst Dunlop and Todd were still together, Harrison already found himself a further three seconds in arrears. Hillier continued in fifth but was almost nine seconds behind Seeley.
Lap two and Seeley found himself pegged back by Dunlop and Todd with the trio covered by just half a second as they flashed across the line with Harrison now circulating in a lonely fourth. Rutter was up to fifth as he again ran in close company with Hillier and McGuinness whilst the running order behind was Craig Neve on the Bathams Honda, Erno Kostamo (Motorsport 38 Syntainics BMW) and Michael Evans (ME Racing Suzuki). Sam West (Moto-hub.co.uk BMW) was running in eighth on the road but a ten-second penalty put him back in 12th on corrected time.
Back at the front and Todd took second from Dunlop at York Corner, going on to challenge Seeley for the lead on the run to University although the BMW man had enough of a lead to prevent an overtake from his Honda rival.
Seeley’s lead was three tenths of a second at the start line as the fourth lap got underway and, once again, the trio were back in close formation by the time they’d got to University. And as they approached Magherabuoy, Dunlop moved back into second at the expense of Todd.
Going into the final lap, Seeley had stretched his lead over Dunlop to 0.7s with Todd a similar distance behind in third and as the lap wore on, it looked like only Dunlop might be able to prevent another Seeley win.
However, he couldn’t close the gap and get close enough to make a pass and just as they took the chequered flag, the red flag came out after Todd’s Honda expired on the run towards the Metropole.
That meant Harrison was promoted to the final podium position with Rutter taking fourth ahead of Hillier and McGuinness. Neve and Kostamo finished in seventh and eighth respectively with West climbing back up to ninth ahead of Evans.
Alastair Seeley extended his record number of wins at the North West 200 to 28 with a commanding victory on the Synetiq BMW in Thursday evening’s Superstock race.
Seeley's win was confirmed when the race stopped prematurely as the leaders started their final lap due to an incident at Dhu Varren involving seventh-placed Nathan Harrison.
Davey Todd (Milenco by Padgetts Honda) took second from Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Honda) with Harrison reported to have sustained minor injuries.
However, there was drama and controversy before the race had even got underway with the FHO Racing pairing of Peter Hickman and Josh Brookes prevented from racing due to the use of carbon fibre wheels, which come as standard with the BMW M1000RR, in practice. And with alternative wheels not homologated for the Superstock-spec BMW, the team have taken the decision to withdraw from the rest of the meeting.
It was Todd who led off the line this time with Seeley slotting into second but the latter was in front at University with Dunlop up to third and that was the order as they crossed the line, Seeley’s advantage half a second with Dunlop a further second adrift.
Dean Harrison (DAO Racing Kawasaki) slotted into fourth from James Hillier (OMG Racing Yamaha), Conor Cummins on the second Milenco machine, Nathan Harrison (Honda Racing) and Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing BMW) and the race was already beginning to stretch out with more than 11s covering the leading eight riders.
Second time around and Seeley had increased his lead to 0.8s, aided by a new lap record, and it looked to be a two-horse race with Dunlop having dropped three seconds in arrears. Dean Harrison was running in a lonely fourth with Hillier still in fifth although Cummins had dropped back to 16th after picking up a 10s penalty for running straight on at the Mather’s Chicane.
Rutter, Nathan Harrison, John McGuinness (Honda Racing), Mike Browne (Burrows by RK Racing BMW) and Sam West (Moto-Hub.co.uk BMW) now completed the top ten but Rutter overhauled Hillier for fourth halfway round the lap. There was change further up the order too as Todd dropped back to third after running straight on at the Mather’s Chicane.
Third time around and Seeley broke the lap record again with a lap of 4’19.525s, just a second outside the outside lap record, and that, together with Todd’s error, saw his lead over Dunlop rocket up to 5.7s.
Dean Harrison continued to circulate on his own in fourth with Rutter, Hillier, Nathan Harrison and McGuinness running nose to tail in fifth to eighth. Browne had dropped out and that meant Rutter’s team-mate Craig Neve was up to ninth having also overtaken West.
Seeley’s lead was up to 8.2s as he started the penultimate lap and all eyes fell on the battle for second with Dunlop and Todd now separated by just three tenths of a second. Indeed, the Padgetts man got back up to second at the Metropole.
Seeley had added another two seconds to his lead as he started the sixth and final lap, but the red flag came out shortly afterwards and that meant Seeley got the win from Todd, Dunlop, Dean Harrison, Rutter, Hillier and McGuinness with Neve, West and Michael Evans (ME Racing Suzuki) completing the top ten. David Datzer and Macau GP winner Erno Kostamo took 11th and 12th.