Alastair Seeley lived up to the pre-race hype as he won the opening Supersport race in style at the Vauxhall International North West 200 with a new lap record for the class.

Seeley was involved in a thrilling battle with his old British Supersport rival and event newcomer Glenn Irwin, who led the race on the opening lap and traded blows with Seeley until he was cruelly forced out on lap four.

His demise left Seeley clear at the front on the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R600 and although Michael Dunlop closed the gap on his MD Racing Yamaha after making a break from Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts Honda, Seeley found more to set a new lap record on the penultimate lap at 117.077mph to open an advantage of two-and-a-half seconds.

He stretched his lead further on the sixth and final lap to win by seven-and-a-half seconds from Dunlop to claim his 13th victory around the 8.9-mile course, which puts him level on the all-time roll of honour with Joey Dunlop and Michael Rutter.

Lee Johnston made up plenty of ground on the ECC/Burdens Triumph to finish in third place in the last rostrum position, with Anstey taking fourth.

Dean Harrison on the Mar-Train Yamaha and Manx rider Conor Cummins (Jackson Honda) were the top six.

William Dunlop had been lying in sixth place on the CD/IC Racing Yamaha when he retired on lap three at University.

Dunlop was battered and bruised after coming off his Yamaha R6 during practice at York hairpin.