Ulsterman Alastair Seeley continued his record breaking feats at the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 as he smashed the Superstock lap record to claim his 18th victory on the famous Triangle circuit on his Tyco BMW on Thursday.

The 'Wee Wizard' set a new mark of 122.898mph to win from Lee Johnston (East Coast Construction) and Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki).

Seeley has now won a race at the North West every year since his first victory in 2008. His Superstock race win was the 25th success for TAS Racing team bosses Hector and Philip Neill but it wasn't without its drama.

"I hit a false neutral on lap two at the roundabout after I got into the lead and had to run up over the grass and on to a footpath," Seeley said.

"I had to work my way back to the front and I thought I'd better not do anything silly on the last lap. Hopefully we can continue this form on Saturday for the massive crowds who are around the circuit."

It was a major consolation for the Carrickfergus rider after his retirement on lap two of the Supersport race with an engine problem earlier in the evening. Seeley had been fastest in practice but Martin Jessopp took advantage of the local man's absence to win his first North West race on the Riders Motorcycles Triumph.

"I am lost for words," he said. "I have been trying to win a race here for ten years and now I have done it. I tried to ride my own race and open a gap on the rest of the field."

Jessopp won by 0.772 seconds from Ian Hutchinson on the McAMS Yamaha with James Hillier third on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki, a further 1.2 seconds back. It was the Triumph's first win at the North West since 1970.

Jessopp didn't have to wait long for his second North West win, taking victory in the final race of the evening in the Supertwins event on his Riders Motorcycles ER6 Kawasaki.

"I had pushed hard all race and was taking it a little bit easier on the last lap when I saw I had a six second lead on my board," he said. "But I looked back at the roundabout and saw Rutter behind me so I had to get my head down again."

Rutter's Kawasaki was built by Ryan Farquhar, who was seriously injured in the same race 12 months ago. It took a new lap record from Jessopp on the final circuit of 110.423mph to win by 0.8 seconds from Rutter, with Ivan Lintin (Dafabet Devitt Kawasaki) third.

The main race bill takes place on Saturday, featuring both Superbike races and the final Supersport, Superstock and Supertwins events.



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