TREBLE YELL

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IT was supposed to be the day when Carrick’s Alastair Seeley swept all before him to equal Ulster road racing legend Phillip McCallen’s 1992 five-timer at the North West 200. Instead, the Tyco Suzuki British Superbike rider had to settle for a double on Saturday in the Superbike and Supersport races to go along with his Thursday night win, plus a hat-trick of runner-up finishes - an achievement that still marked him out as the undoubted man of the meeting.

“I can’t complain too much about those results,” said Seeley at the end.

“Three wins from six podiums and winning the big one: the North West 200 Superbike race – it was really nice to do it again. I didn’t think it was going to be my day after the red flag in the first Supersport race when I’d just caught William going onto the last lap; missing a gear while leading the first Superbike race; then losing out in Superstock race one when Michael Rutter won it on corrected time from the second group, even though I’d crossed the line first.

“It just shows that dreams can come true if you work hard enough. I’d like to thank to team for a big effort and hope our sponsors Tyco enjoyed their first North West 200.”

The Carrick rider had earlier been denied in the premier class by Honda TT Legends star John McGuinness, who grasped a gilt-edged opportunity when Seeley hit a neutral while leading the race and overshot at Church Corner, dropping down the order. But there were no such errors from the 32-year-old in the big race of the day, which he won from the effervescent Michael Rutter on the MSS Bathams Kawasaki with McGuinness having to settle for the final place on the podium.

Seeley, who won by 1.5 seconds, said: “I didn’t think I was going to get any wins at the start of the day because I kept finishing second, but I worked hard to win the Supersport race and then me and Philip [Neill, team boss] sat down and talked about trying to make a break for it in the big race.

“I got to the front and just tried to put in a lot of fast laps and the Pirelli tyres worked really well.

“We had a good engine in the bike and I just stayed tucked in and made myself as small as I could,” he added.

“It was nice to get that win for the Tyco Suzuki team and it’s a dream come true to win it and to do it in front of all the local fans.

“There were a lot of programmes waving on that last lap but I was more worried about making sure I didn’t make any mistakes and that I hit all my braking markers and didn’t overshoot.”

Rutter may have finished as the runner-up but the 40-year-old said he felt like he had won the race.

“That was fantastic and I feel like I’ve won the race,” he said.

“It was a brilliant race with John [McGuinness] and he’s so smooth. I tried plugging away at Alastair but he just had the edge on us. I can’t grumble with second place in the big Superbike race though.” McGuinness added: “Alastair was stronger than me in places and I was stronger than he was in places, but hats off to Alastair - he rode fantastic and he deserved the win.”

Simon Andrews finished fourth on corrected time after starting from the second wave, with Michael Dunlop and James Hillier the first six. Swan Yamaha’s Ian Hutchinson took seventh on the YZF-R1. Tyco Suzuki Team Manager Philip Neill was a happy man at the end. “Taking three wins away from an international event is a great achievement for any team, although I do feel there was just a little too much hype in the media about Alastair potentially winning all five on Saturday.

He added: “The North West produces a quality entry and winning one race is a big deal, so we’re very proud to have given both Suzuki and our new sponsor Tyco Security Products three this year.”