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May 17, 2013

Seeley Wins Supersport, Superstock Races Thursday At The North West 200 In Northern Ireland

North West 200: Guy Martin (4) on his Tyco Suzuki.

Conor Cummins fought his way through to sixth place in last night's Livewire AV Solutions Superstock race at the Vauxhall International North West 200. The Manxman impressively posted the fourth fastest lap of the race on his Milwaukee Yamaha. His team-mate William Dunlop retired on the penultimate lap with a shoulder problem.

The Ballymoney Borough Council Supersport race was the first on the public roads of Northern Ireland last night, in difficult conditions. Cummins took 18th place with William Dunlop again retiring when a connector plug disappointingly worked its way loose, forcing his Milwaukee Yamaha into the retarded pit lane mode.

Cummins said: "I'm delighted with the Superstock result for the whole team as we've all had limited track time and the conditions were not ideal. We made the wrong tyre choice in the Supersport race but it was a gamble and that's what it required sometimes in those conditions. It was a tough first couple of races but I'm inspired by the Superstock result going into the full race programme."

Dunlop said: "The 600 is working well and I'm not too disappointed as the bike is fast and we have it sorted now for Saturday and more importantly it'll all be up to speed for the TT. My shoulder popped out in the Superstock race on the run down into the chicane ay Magherabuoy. I pulled over and got it put back in by the medics, so I'll get it strapped up for tomorrow, but we're also getting there with the 'stocker. Two retirements but I'm positive enough."

Team Owner Shaun Muir concluded: "Thursday night was an okay run but we made the wrong tyre choice for both riders in the Supersport race, but it really was difficult conditions. We are all delighted for Conor in the Superstock race and it could well have given us a fourth place but sixth in those conditions with limited track time is satisfying enough on the first day of racing. William was struggling a bit on the big bike and was unlucky on the Supersport bike with a small connector problem. That's road racing for you; hopefully the weather comes good and can play into our hands on Saturday."

Supersport Result [5 laps]

1: Alastair Seeley [Kawasaki] 24:55.528
2: Michael Dunlop [Honda] +1.349s
3: Guy Martin [Suzuki] +24.937s
4: Bruce Anstey [Honda] +38.587s
5: Stuart Easton [Yamaha] +40.737s
6: Dean Harrison [Yamaha] +42.073s

18: Conor Cummins [Milwaukee Yamaha]
DNF: William Dunlop [Milwaukee Yamaha]

Superstock Result [6 laps]

1: Alastair Seeley [Kawasaki] 28:34.583
2: Bruce Anstey [Honda] +0.296s
3: Gary Johnson [Kawasaki] +16.700s
4: Guy Martin [Suzuki] +20.579s
5: Derek Sheils [Kawasaki] +23.060s
6: Conor Cummins [Milwaukee Yamaha] +23.463s

DNF: William Dunlop [Milwaukee Yamaha]

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More, from a press release issued by Mar-Train Racing:


Stuart Easton made a more than impressive start to his International North West 200 Supersport campaign, scoring a fine fifth place in last night’s opening encounter in treacherous conditions on the north coast.

Setting off on a wet front, intermediate rear tyre combination, the Mar-Train Racing pilot worked his way through tentatively from fifteenth place on the opening lap, eventually setting the third fastest lap of the race, when his rear Metzeler tyre came into its own in the closing stages to take the cheqeured flag in fifth place.

They are certainly not conditions the Hawick man revels in on the public road circuit, but is upbeat about tomorrow’s second encounter having gathered even more information for his crew. Stuart actually enjoyed the closing laps and even had time to gesticulate hand signals at his old mate John McGuinness on the run to Coleraine.

Stuart Easton:
The race was a real tyre gamble with the conditions and the intermediate rear made for a slow start to the race, but after a couple of laps I got a good feel and started to come through. Once into the top ten, I could see McGuinness and Co in front of me, so I plugged away and managed a top five which I'm happy enough with, considering the sketchy conditions. The third fastest lap shows we maybe could have had a podium, so it sets us up nicely for Saturday and I enjoyed it."

Tim Martin – Team Principal:
“Stuart rode fantastically well in terrible conditions. We made a last minute decision to switch to an intermediate rear and feel it was the right decision. It was unfortunate that the race was shortened as we were coming through strong in the latter stages, and posting the third fastest lap proves we could have fought for a podium. Being the first Yamaha home in front of the ‘works’ team is a positive as well, so hopefully Saturday will be dry and we can push for the front.”

Supersport Result [5 laps]
1: Alastair Seeley [Kawasaki] 24:55.528
2: Michael Dunlop [Honda] +1.349sec
3: Guy Martin [Suzuki] +24.937
4: Bruce Anstey [Honda] +38.587
5: Stuart Easton [Mar-Train Racing] +40.737
6: Dean Harrison [Yamaha] +42.073

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More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:

Guy Martin took Tyco Suzuki's first podium of this year's International North West 200 in last night's Ballymoney Borough Council Supersport race, run over five laps in treacherous conditions.

Martin also went on to grab fourth place in the Livewire AV Superstock race, again run in difficult road conditions, at Northern Ireland circuit.

Tyco Suzuki team mate Josh Brookes didn't disappoint on his full road-racing debut with a seventh place in the Superstock encounter. Even more impressive was Brookes' rapidly decreasing lap times, eventually posting the third fastest lap of the race - a phenomenal achievement as a newcomer.

Guy Martin:

"The Supersport race was run in really iffy conditions, but the bike was good and very strong. I led on the first lap but once Dunlop came past I just wasn't prepared to give any more in the early laps on really wet roads. Seeley also got me from the second group on corrected time but I'm happy enough as I think the little Suzuki is good enough to do the business if we get the right conditions on Saturday.

"In the Superstock race, if someone had told me before the race started that we'd get fourth from 15th on the grid, I'd have ripped their arm off for it. I got past Seeley in the race at one point and should probably have done more, but we were a little out with the gearing and struggling to slipstream. In saying that, the bike is strong and it's another step forward. We can be up there fighting on Saturday in this class also."

Josh Brookes:

"We are improving and improving on the Superstock bike every time we ride it, but I have to remember, the first time I'd ever ridden the bike was when we rolled up here at the start of the week. I've just made changes in a step-by-step process and that's for personal feel, but the engine performance of the GSX-R1000 has been very good and I can draft past people easy enough.

"In the race I started from the second group, which I wasn't that happy about as I wanted to use some of the other fast guys as a gauge, as I'm still struggling to know some of the braking points off the fast straights. I did get the holeshot in my group and led into University, but I ran on and it took me a while to get it turned.

"I had to fight through the traffic then and felt disappointed that a great opportunity had been lost. I just put my head down and got quicker and quicker, lap-by-lap. The first lap through Station Corner, which is quite intimidating, was a matter of building it up; then on my last flying lap I almost kept it flat through there, which is what you've got to do. It took me five laps to learn it.

"Now I can look back and say it was a great race and the boys worked really hard to give me a great bike. I only made one small mistake, which is acceptable as I'm new to this and it is tough trying to learn the track in the wet. I think there is still a lot more to come from me. No I'm not riding the track as good as the front guys just yet, but with more time I can get up there, but I'm really enjoying the experience."

Philip Neill - Team Manager:

"I have to say that it was a very successful day for us taking everything into consideration and putting it in perspective. We've worked hard on the wee GSX-R600 Suzuki over the winter and also added new suspension in Ohlins, so I'm pleased with Guy's podium in those conditions. Also, to come from 15th to fourth in the Superstock race is a great result for Guy and the team and I think there is more to come on Saturday. He rode very well in both.

"It was good to see Josh with a big smile on his face after the Superstock race. It's hard to believe he had never ridden our GSX-R1000 Superstock bike before this week, so to post the third fastest lap of the race is testament to the crew we have in the Tyco Suzuki team and the fantastic ability Josh has as a rider. We will not get carried away though as what we want to see is progression with JB, although the pace that he has shown so far is beyond anyone's expectations as a newcomer."

Supersport Result - 5 laps:

1: Alastair Seeley (Kawasaki) 24:55.528
2: Michael Dunlop (Honda) +1.349sec
3: Guy Martin (Tyco Suzuki) +24.937
4: Bruce Anstey (Honda) +38.587
5: Stuart Easton (Yamaha) +40.737
6: Dean Harrison (Yamaha) +42.073

Superstock Result - 6 laps:

1: Alastair Seeley (Kawasaki) 28:34.583
2: Bruce Anstey (Honda) +0.296sec
3: Gary Johnson (Kawasaki) +16.700
4: Guy Martin (Tyco Suzuki) +20.579
5: Derek Sheils (Kawasaki) +23.060
6: Conor Cummins (Yamaha) +23.463
7: Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +35.604

More, from a press release issued by KMR Kawasaki with Vauxhall (Northern Ireland dealers):

Delight for KMR Kawasaki as McWilliams wins NW200 Supertwins race

Twelve months to the day after they took an unprecedented 1-2-3 in the North West 200 Supertwins race, KMR Kawasaki with Vauxhall were at it again with Jeremy McWilliams taking a superb victory in Thursday evening's 4-lap race and team-mate Jamie Hamilton adding to the joy in third.

With tricky, damp conditions all the way around the 8.9-mile circuit, former 250cc Grand Prix winner McWilliams had to call on all his experience to get the better of firstly William Davison and then James Hillier and Hamilton, in a thrilling race that saw the lead change hands on numerous occasions. In only his second appearance at the North West 200, Glengormley's McWilliams went head to head with Davison in the first three laps before the youngster slid off at Black Hill, fortunately without injury, as he attempted to take the lead.

However, there was little chance for Jeremy to relax with Hillier and Hamilton breathing down his neck but he was able to successfully keep them at bay on the final lap and hold on for a famous victory, the first Grand Prix winner to have won at the North West 200 since Tom Herron achieved the feat in 1978. His eventual winning margin over Hillier was just 0.8s whilst Hamilton was a similar distance back in third for his first ever NW200 podium.

Further back, Michael Rutter took a solid sixth, one place ahead of fourth team member and circuit newcomer James Cowton, thus ensuring KMR Kawasaki took four of the top seven places.

Hamilton had been forced to retire from the earlier Supersport race but he took an excellent tenth in the 6-lap Superstock race with Brian McCormack taking 14th.

Jeremy McWilliams: "I never dreamt in a million years that I'd be standing here today as a North West 200 race winner and it's an amazing feeling to be able to say I've done that. It's as good as anything I've ever achieved in my career but it was an incredibly tough race right from the very word go. Conditions were tricky as it was hard to work out where it was damp and where it was wet whilst William was pushing me really hard. It's a shame he slid off as the battle would have gone all the way to the end but I managed to hold on for the win. It's great for Ryan, Vauxhall and the whole team as without them it wouldn't have been possible for me to win. It's such a great team to ride for, one with a real family atmosphere and I'm over the moon with the victory."

Ryan Farquhar; "It's been another good day for KMR Kawasaki and Vauxhall and when I retired I wasn't sure if we'd still be having days like this. We've put in so much effort and so many hours to get the bikes ready and sometimes you wonder why you do it but today makes it all worthwhile. Four bikes in the top seven is pretty special and I also built Lee Johnston's bike who took fifth and had a hand in James Hillier's, so I'll take a bit of credit there as well!"

"Conditions made the race tough for everyone and I do feel sorry for Willy Davison as he was riding brilliantly but thankfully he's ok. For Jeremy to ride for me and the team in the first place was special and so the win today makes it even sweeter. Jamie rode excellently too for his first NW200 podium whilst Michael and James did a great job also so it's a big thank you to everyone connected with the team especially Kawasaki UK, Vauxhall and all the boys who've put the hours in. Last year's 1-2-3 was probably the best day ever for KMR but today is right up there."

The team will be back out in force in Saturday's races, which include two Superbike, two Supersport and another Supertwins event.

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