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May 17, 2018

North West 200: Alastair Seeley, Peter Hickman, Martin Jessopp Win Races Thursday In Northern Ireland (Updated)

Alastair Seeley (34). Photo by Rod Neill/Pacemaker Press, courtesy of North West 200 Press Office.

Vauxhall International North West 200

Triangle Circuit, Northern Ireland

May 17, 2018

HEL Performance Supersport (600cc) Race One Results:

1. Alastair Seeley (Yam YZF-R6), 6 laps, Total Race Time 27:52.631, Best Lap Time 4:34.427, Race Average Speed 115.535 mph

2. James Hillier (Kaw ZX-6R), -2.447 seconds, 4:35.815, 115.367 mph

3. Lee Johnston (Hon CBR600RR), -3.369, 4:36.153, 115.303 mph

4. Dean Harrison (Kaw ZX-6R), -3.536, 4:36.951, 115.292 mph

5. Gary Johnson (Tri Daytona 675R), -12.039, 4:38.664, 114.710 mph

6. Conor Cummins (Hon CBR600RR), -18.421, 4:40.596, 114.277 mph

7. Ian Hutchinson (Hon CBR600RR), -20.751, 4:40.901, 114.120 mph

8. Daniel Cooper (Hon CBR600RR), -21.288, 4:41.583, 114.083 mph

9. James Cowton (Kaw ZX-6R), -21.483, 4:40.674, 114.070 mph

10. Dan Kneen (Hon CBR600RR), -32.813, 4:41.588, 113.312 mph

Bayview Hotel Superstock (1000cc) Race One Results:

1. Peter Hickman (BMW S1000RR), 6 laps, Total Race Time 26:33.118, Best Lap Time 4:24.066, Average Race Speed 121.302 mph

2. Alastair Seeley (BMW S1000RR), -0.578 second, 4:23.577, 121.258 mph

3. Michael Dunlop (BMW S1000RR), -1.150 seconds, 4:24.896, 121.214 mph

4. Michael Rutter (BMW S1000RR), -2.171, 4:24.408, 121.137 mph

5. James Hillier (Kaw ZX-10R), -16.248, 4:26.133, 120.077 mph

6. Dean Harrison (Kaw ZX-10R), -16.630, 4:25.096, 120.049 mph

7. Lee Johnston (Hon CBR1000RR), -27.586, 4:29.924, 119.237 mph

8. Gary Johnson (Kaw ZX-10R), -38.326, 4:28.949, 118.452 mph

9. Sam West (BMW S1000RR), -44.616, 4:31.377, 117.997 mph

10. Derek McGee (Kaw ZX-10R), -46.859, 4:30.818, 117.836 mph

Vauxhall Supertwin Race One Results:

1. Martin Jessopp (Kaw 650), 4 laps, Total Race Time 19:48.764, Best Lap Time 4:56.228, Race Average Speed 108.233 mph

2. Jeremy McWilliams (Kaw 650), -1.860 seconds, 4:57.366, 108.064 mph

3. Joey Thompson (Paton), -2.098, 4:57.571, 108.043 mph

4. Adam McLean (Kaw 650), -2.341, 4:57.775, 108.021 mph

5. James Cowton (Kaw 650), -2.555, 4:56.453, 108.001 mph

6. Christian Elkin (Kaw 650), -12.391, 4:58.598, 107.117 mph

7. Victor Lopez (Kaw 650), -42.814, 5:08.359, 104.471 mph

8. Darren Cooper (Kaw 650), -43.179, 5:07.927, 104.440 mph

9. Michael Sweeney (Kaw 650), -44.389, 5:08.425, 104.337 mph

10. Denver Robb (Kaw 650), -54.823, 5:09.342, 103.462 mph

12. Matt Sadowski (Kaw 650), -76.612, 5:16.628, 101.680 mph

More, from a press release issued by Honda Racing:

Solid start for Honda Racing at the North West 200

North West 200

Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

The Honda Racing team has got its 2018 road racing campaign off to a solid start as the International North West 200 roared into life this week. The final Superbike session took place this afternoon with Honda’s duo Ian Hutchinson and Lee Johnston qualifying tenth and 13th aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, ahead of Saturday’s opening seven-lap Superbike race.

With near-perfect conditions for the final qualifying session at the 8.9-mile circuit, Johnston rounded off the top-ten, 4.676s from pole, despite suffering a technical issue during the session.

Meanwhile teammate Hutchinson has been getting to grips with the CBR at ‘The Triangle’. Working through various areas with the set-up of the machine and making progress in each session the ‘Bingley Bullet’ qualified 13th, with a lap time of 4:31.200.

The race schedule for Saturday 19 May is below, with roads closing at 0915 BST.

Supersport race (6laps)

Superbike race (7 laps)

Supertwin race (4 laps)

Superstock race (6 laps)

Superbike race 2 (7 laps)

For all the latest news and racing updates follow @HondaRacingCBR on Twitter.

Ian Hutchinson 9

We’ve gone out in each session and we’re chipping away really, we’ve got some work to do ahead of the races on Saturday, but it’s all about bike time for me. We’ve been working on various settings with the Fireblade and we are making progress. I’m looking forward to both Superbike races on Saturday and seeing what we can do.

Lee Johnston 13

Practice so far has gone well for us this week; we had a little issue during the session, but ended up tenth, where we’ll start the race from on Saturday. I’m pleased with the progress we’re making with the Fireblade here, today has been great with the weather so we’ve been able to get all sessions and races in. Race day is always different and I know the team will be working hard on the set-up to get us away on Saturday, I’m looking forward to both races and can’t wait to get going.

Jonny Twelvetrees

Team Manager

We’re making progress here at the North West 200; both Lee and Ian are chipping away. Today we’ve been blessed with great weather, which always helps and both riders have had races this afternoon so they’re adding to their track time. Throughout all session the lads have been improving their lap times, we have a few things to work towards for the races on Saturday now, but I think overall we’re in a good position to go racing.

More, from a press release issued by Tyco BMW:

 Tyco BMW continued their positive start to the international roads campaign today at the North West 200, with Alastair Seeley recording a fastest lap and placing the BMW S 1000 RR firmly on the podium in second place during a spectacularly close Superstock 1000 race. Holding first place for the majority of the race, the Carrickfergus man was pipped to the post during the closing stages of the final lap, with just 1.1s covering the top three rostrum places.

With near-perfect conditions at the 8.9mile Triangle circuit, track action was also tight in the final Superbike qualifying session, with less than one-tenth of a second separating the front three riders. 15-times TT winner and current NW200 Superbike lap record holder Michael Dunlop posted a lap time of 4mins 23.802s securing a front row start for Saturday’s opening Superbike race. Alastair Seeley and Dan Kneen also showed superb form aboard the BMW S 1000 RR, with the ‘Wee Wizard’ placing himself on the second row of the grid (fourth) and Dan Kneen in 15th.

Philip Neill – Team Manager: Another great NW 200 race, the juniper chicane really has become the make or break section of the course. Alastair did everything right but Peter had rehearsed the move a few times and it was clear he would have a go on the last lap. Dan suffered more bad luck after being pushed wide on entry to the chicane which destroyed any chance for a podium finish. Michael can be very satisfied with his ride to third in his first race on his own S 1000 RR Superstock bike.

Racing resumes on Saturday [19th May 2018]:

1st RaceSupersport 6 laps

2nd RaceSuperbike7 laps

3rd RaceSupertwin4 laps

4th RaceSuperstock6 laps

5th RaceNW Superbike 7 laps

More, from a press release issued by North West 200 Press Office:


An exciting evening of elbow to elbow racing at the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200 produced three different winners from the trio of Supersport, Superstock and Supertwins races.

Alastair Seeley notched up his 22nd North West victory by winning the opening Supersport event on the EHA Yamaha after a battle with James Hillier (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) and Lee Johnston (Padgett’s Honda). Seeley’s winning margin was 2.4 seconds to maintain his record of having won a race at the North coast event every year since 2008.

“It’s nice to keep that record going.” the 38 year old smiled.

“I knew the boys were there because they kept passing me and I knew going in to the last lap that I had to make a gap. The fuel load was down so I knew I could brake later and I bided my time to lose the tow. I still had plenty in the tank!”

When Seeley moved into the lead of the Superstock race on lap three it looked like the Carrickfergus man was going to make it a double but it was Peter Hickman who snatched the chequered flag with a stunning last lap move.

Hickman dived inside Seeley on the brakes going into Juniper chicane to give the big Burton on Trent rider his first North West victory on the Smith’s BMW.

“It was really close on the lap before and I knew I could have a go there.” the BSB star explained.

“I didn't want tos how my hand too early but I was really strong at Black Hill and the bike is good in a straight line. Alastair tried to let the brakes off and lean on me going into Juniper and I thought ‘You’re not doing that!’”

The race was a BMW benefit with Hickman winning by half a second from Seeley’s Tyco BMW with Michael Dunlop a further 0.5 seconds behind on his MD Racing BMW. Veteran Michael Rutter closed on the leading trio on the final lap to claim fourth place.

“It was tight and I thought I had him.” Seeley said after the exciting tussle.

“Hickman had a go at Juniper and I had to sit up and then I ran on to the gravel. It was a better race with a bit more toing and froing.”

The Supertwins race was another intense battle with Martin Jessopp eventually taking his third North West victory on the Riders Motorcycles Kawasaki.

The Yeovil rider beat 54 year old former MotoGP star, Jeremy McWilliams (KMR Kawasaki) by 1.8 seconds with the youngest rider in the field, Joey Thompson finishing third on a Paton.

“The evening had started off well when I was leading the Supersport race and then I ended up sitting on top of the Mill Road roundabout!” Jessopp joked about his earlier mishap in the Supersport race.

“It was a hard race and I only led from Metropole on the last lap because I was losing so much out of the corners.”

McWilliams had led on the opening lap before grabbing second on his Ryan Farquhar prepared Kawasaki.

“I fell asleep a little bit and I couldn’t work out where they were faster” the former Grand Prix and North West winner said.

“The Paton had some pace and then the other boys got in among us and I had to weigh them up. It came good at the end.”

Racing resumes at the North West 200 with five races on Saturday. Roads close at 9.15am with the first race starting at 10am.

More, from a press release issued by EHA Racing:


EHA Racing added its name to an illustrious list of winners at the International North West 200, when Alastair Seeley took a thrilling Supersport race victory earlier this evening on the sun-drenched north coast in Northern Ireland. He also took the fastest lap of the race, just 0.4sec outside his own lap record with a last lap of 4min 34.427sec.

The now 22-time winner, put the JP Corry backed EHA Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 on pole position, 2.8 seconds ahead of his rivals in the morning qualifying session, before going on to take a memorable first-ever victory at the NW200 for the Irish team – following six pulsating laps of the 8.9-mile Triangle circuit. James Hillier was second, 2.4sec down on Seeley, with Lee Johnston almost 4-seconds down on the Wee Wizard in third.

Speaking afterwards the diminutive Carrickfergus ace said: “I’m delighted to be able to give Edward and Gail and the whole EHA Racing team and their sponsors this first ever win. I knew the package was good, as I’ve raced against them in British championship, and I was excited to be getting to ride the new Yamaha R6 here at the North West. After a great test last week, everything went according to plan in qualifying today.

Recounting the race he said: In the race with a full fuel tank I didn’t want to push too hard on early on. I thought it might have been red flagged when Jessop hit the bails at Mill Road on lap one. His bike flipped over and landed where I wanted to be on track, but thankfully we were able to avoid it and carry on. We still have a race on Saturday so I don’t want to go into too much detail on our race strategy, but full credit to Adrian Gorst and the boys, the bike felt like it was on rails today. It gave me everything I wanted from it today.

Dean Harrison had got caught up in the Jessop incident, so when he came past, I knew he’d made up a lot of ground, so I latched on and had a look to see where he was strong before making a game plan and pulling the pin. I kissed the kerb on the exit of the start-finish chicane on the last lap, but nothing too severe, and there’s not even a mark on the rim. From there it was head down and put in a perfect lap record pace final effort to take the win. I'm a happy man.”

Team Manager Gail Allingham said of the memorable win: “The International North West 200 is a special event on the calendar and one we are all proud of, coming from this part of the world. But to come and win here, with what is essentially a family owned team, on only our second visit to the event, is just a dream come true.

Alastair has fitted into the EHA Racing set-up so well in such a short space of time, and his desire to add to his win tally, while also wanting to give us our first International NW200 win, has been obvious from the word go.

Full credit to him for his commitment so far, not just on track, but also off it; fulfilling PR requirements with our lead sponsor JP Corry and also meeting and greeting guests from a large number of other team partners during a hectic schedule which is very important to us this week.”

Gail added: “Our crew has also worked tirelessly this week; full credit to them as they came straight across from a busy British championship schedule to a test last week with Alastair and then straight onto the North West 200, where they have done a great job. Also a big thank you must go to Event Director Mervyn Whyte and his team for their support from the word go. It’s made the whole event very enjoyable.

We will have a bit of a celebration tonight then prepare for Saturday, where we get to look forward to the second Supersport outing at the event on main race day, and welcome back our sponsors and guest to the north coast. There's no better place when the sun is shining and the victory champagne is flowing.”