Alastair Seeley set a new record of North West 200 wins with victory in the opening Supersport race on Thursday evening.
Seeley set a new lap record on his Gearlink Kawasaki of 117.835mph to claim a sweet 16th victory, which makes him the most successful rider ever around the Triangle course from road racing great Robert Dunlop, who won 15 times.
The Ulster rider broke away on the final lap to power clear and won by 1.2 seconds in the end from Ian Hutchinson on the Came BPT Yamaha with Martin Jessopp taking his first North West rostrum in third (Riders Motorcycles Triumph).
“As a boy everybody has dreams and this is a dream come true for me,” Seeley said.
“It is unbelievable to be named in the same breath as the Dunlops.”
The six-lap Supersport was a race worthy of a new record with Seeley leading in the opening laps before Hutchinson took over at the front at mid-distance.
Hutchy could do nothing to prevent Seeley's thunderous late surge though and had to settle for the runner-up spot ahead of Jessopp, with the top six completed by William Dunlop (IC Racing Yamaha), Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki) and Lee Johnston (ECC/Burdens Triumph).
James Hillier (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) finished seventh ahead of John McGuinness on the Jackson Racing Honda while the top ten was rounded out by Michael Rutter (Bathams SMT Kawasaki) and Bruce Anstey (Valvoline Padgetts Honda), who ran on at Mill Road roundabout during the race as he challenged inside the top six.
A lengthy delay followed when the red flags came out in the Supertwins race due to a fire at a house on the course.