Five star Seeley

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ALASTAIR Seeley racked up his fifth North West 200 success in the only race that survived.

The Carrickfergus rider showed all his class as he edged out Cameron Donald in a high speed duel over five thrilling laps.

The pair swapped paint for the second half of the five-lap encounter after the Antipodean made a mess of his start and had to fight his way through the pack to take second place on lap three before starting his charge for the lead.

Seeley was stronger on the brakes into both the Mather’s Cross and Magherabuoy chicanes but Donald’s traction control gave him better grip on the exits and he was able to win the battle of the slipstream.

As the lights went out, East Coast Racing’s Gary Johnson rode round the outside of Seeley in York corner while Ryan Farquhar, who ran an intermediate rear, staked his claim for the lead. It wasn’t for long, though, as Johnson was back in front on the run into Metropole.

Lap two saw Seeley take the lead from Johnson just after the start/finish line but Anstey went past the pair down the Avenue as Donald made his way into fifth after an awful start.

Anstey got shuffled back to fourth in the slipstream to Mather’s as Johnson over-cooked it on the brakes and had to take to the sliproad, losing the lead to Seeley while Anstey was passed by Donald.

Donald staked his claim for the lead on lap three but Seeley had his number into Magherabuoy. As they crossed the line to start lap four, they had pulled a five-second lead with Anstey in third and Johnson fourth a further three seconds back.

Lap five saw the lead pair trade first but Seeley was once again first on the brakes into Magherabuoy and didn’t look back. Donald made a small error on the Coast Road and couldn’t make back the time so let it be and cruised in for second.

There was a five-second gap to third-placed man Bruce Anstey, on the Padgett’s Honda, who had a lonely race after a small dice with Johnson saw them get gapped by the leaders early on.

Local man Michael Dunlop took fourth place and Johnson fifth. William Dunlop was sixth and Ryan Farquhar seventh. Guy Martin took eighth, Lee Johnston ninth and Connor Cummins rounds out the top ten.

“I managed to get a good start and saw that I was battling with Ryan and Gary so spent the first couple of laps sussing things out,” said a delighted Seeley afterwards.

“Then when I turned round I saw Cameron and I was thinking he wasn’t there a minute ago!

“We got a gap and then I just tried to control the race plan. I had a bit of a game plan if it came down to the last lap and I felt strong on the brakes at the important corners so it all game good.”

Donald was pleased with his response after a disappointing start.

“Apart from the start, it wasn’t too tough a race and I felt good out there,” he said.

“The clutch slipped a bit off the line and the bike went sideways on me - I think I was last going into the first corner so didn’t hang around getting up to the front!

“It was close at times between me and Alastair and I knew he was good on the brakes along the coast road so I tried to get him into Church but the brain ruled the red mist and I had to let him go.”

Result: McKendry Fabrications Supersport 600

1. A Seeley average speed 107.97mph 2. C Donald 107.91 3. B Anstey 106.96 4. M Dunlop 106.32 5. G Johnson 106.18 6. W Dunlop 105.92