ALASTAIR SEELEY “I was lucky to walk away with just sore ribs”

Alastair Seeley at Snetterton

Alastair Seeley at Snetterton

Alastair Seeley took six podiums with three wins at the North West 200, but was lucky to walk away after a fast crash in Free Practice at Snetterton. Here he talks about the two.

I’ve been pretty busy since the North West getting back home to see Lewis and getting my camper ‘dunged out’ and also taking in Snetterton which was a bit of a come down after the North West, but that’s racing.

The week at the North West couldn’t have started any better going P1 in two classes and P2 in Superstock and less than a second off pole – so we knew we were bang on the pace straight away.

On Thursday we knew it was going to be wet so it was important to get those times down on Tuesday. I just took the Superstock bike out in the practice on Thursday so we could get it set-up for the Thursday night race. I think we ended up about fourth but had a bit in reserve, although in the race I didn’t think I was going to get it as comfortable.

It certainly wasn’t in the script to win it by 22 seconds but you take it whatever way you can get it. I had my BSB team-mate Josh Brookes out giving me an extra board at the Magic Roundabout and Davy Turk at the start line. The boys were relaying the times to Josh so I could see if anyone from the second group was in the mix.

The gap just got bigger and bigger and after that I just calmed it down, short-shifted everywhere and found the damp patches to preserve the tyres; but the Pirellis did a brilliant job and it was nice to give Suzuki their first-ever win in Superstock trim for the new GSX-R1000.

There was a lot of media hype again this year around me possibly doing a clean sweep on Saturday and with Thursday night’s win they were even talking about me winning six. That’s a big ask for anybody and can make me look disrespectful to other riders which I’m not.

Seeley celebrates 6 podium and 3 wins

Seeley celebrates 6 podium and 3 wins

It is possible to win them all as Ian Hutchinson proved at the TT, but you have to take each race as it comes and you need a lot of luck to win them all, which I didn’t get on the Saturday, but I’m more than happy with my results.

The papers were saying William Dunlop won the first 600 race and blew my chances, but it’s them that keep talking about five and try to draw me into it. In that first Supersport race I couldn’t believe the speed of the Wilson Craig Honda – it was unreal!

Even in the slipstream he was pulling away. I couldn’t get close enough to get into his slipstream, and with McGuinness right in mine, he was sucking me back which wasn’t helping matters.

I managed to break away from McGuinness and with William being a Dunlop rider I’d a fair idea his tyres would cause him difficulty at the end of the race. I just kept chipping away and was riding the Coast Road really hard and fully committed in and out of all the chicanes.

I could tell the gap the gap was coming down from Metropole to York Corner as I was much faster on that section, but as soon as we got out of Mill Road and down to University I could hardly see him again. It was an accordion effect and it was frustrating, but I kept my head and hoped he’d make a mistake, which he did at Juniper Hill just before we went onto the last lap.

He run onto the grass and made a mess, then down into York there was a backmarker and he fluffed that up and I dived up the inside. But as soon as I got to Mill Road the red flag was out. Someone said William had a hand injury, so maybe that was coming into play or the Dunlop tyres were starting to fail, but I never got my chance and that was it. It’s ironic my team-mate caused the red flag that probably cost me the win, but I’m just happy Guy is okay and back in action at the TT.

All the flak has come from my pass on William in the second race on the last lap, but he has his followers and I have mine and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Anybody who gives me ‘jip’ on Facebook or Twitter just gets blocked. I don’t need to be listening to that.

I’m sure once William calms down he’ll be all right. I’d be the same if someone did it to me, but there was nothing malicious in the pass. I’ve got the utmost respect for all the other riders and William included. We’re all there to win; we’re not playing billiards – it’s a high-speed sport and you get a split second to make a decision. If I see a gap I’m going to go for it, but I didn’t intentionally run into the side of him.

Look at Lowry at the Sunflower. He run into the side of me and I didn’t complain about it. But if I had of got the chance I’d have repaid the compliment that day. That’s the way I work.

William and I rubbed elbows yes. As I say there was no malicious intent and it wasn’t so bad that it forced him up the slip-road or onto the kerbs. I hadn’t planned to touch him but we did. I was rubbing elbows with Hillier and Farquhar in the Superstock race and no one complained about it.

I suppose the fact that it was the last lap and it cost him the win people are going to accuse me of hard riding. It was a hard pass but there was nothing in it. It was no different to the pass I did on Easton a couple of years ago.

In the first Superbike race I felt comfortable in the lead, but I selected neutral instead of first gear for Church. I stamped it back into gear but it unsettled the bike, so I picked it up and took the slip-road; did a three-point and got back on the track. I got back in behind Hutchy in 14th and at Juniper I hit neutral again and had to go straight on.

So I was telling myself to be more positive selecting the gears. I caught a big freight train of riders and just picked them off one by one. The Suzuki was fast and very stable, but I knew it would be a miracle to catch John, even though I could see him on the last lap, but he’d probably rolled off by then.

In the big race [NW200 Superbike] I didn’t use first gear for Church, I just rode it in second and we had no issues. Everything was smooth and I just rode to my pit board. I could hear them on the first three laps in my slipstream, but then I saw my board creeping up and I knew I’d broken the tow. Lucky enough there was no one on my bumper at the Juniper Hill Chicane on the last lap and we got the win.

Snetterton BSB didn’t go to plan and after going fastest in the first session I had that big crash in FP2 and the bike went on fire. The boys did a brilliant job building it back up and apart from my confidence being dented; I was lucky to walk away with just sore ribs.

I had tyre and gear selection issues in the races and with not being as confident as I was entering the weekend, I think it all rolled up into a bit of a disaster of a meeting for me. Josh did a good job for the team and is really on it, now leading the championship.

I don’t dwell on bad weekends so while the boys are at the TT, I’m off to Majorca for a bit of R&R and I’ll be back to my best at Knockhill. We’re not out of the hunt yet!

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