Carrick’s Alastair Seeley hopes to be in a strong position to challenge for more Superbike glory at the North West 200 in May.
The 24-time winner was out of contention in the class in 2018 as he battled handling issues with the Tyco BMW, but Seeley hopes to be right back in the mix once again at the international road race, which is backed this year by new sponsors fonaCAB in association with Nicholl Oils.
Seeley was involved in an epic feature Superbike race with fellow Carrick man Glenn Irwin at the North West in 2017, when he narrowly came off second best after a memorable showdown around the 8.9-mile Triangle course.
He had been a dominant winner in mixed conditions in the opening Superbike race on the Tyco BMW – his most recent victory in the premier class at the event.
Irwin has won the last three Superbike races on the trot and returns this year on the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki, but Seeley is hungry to etch his name on the silverware once more.
The 39-year-old will ride for the EHA Racing team on a Yamaha in the Supersport races and although he has yet to finalise machinery for the Superbike class, Seeley hopes to be in a position to reveal his plans soon.
Speaking at the announcement of BBC Sport NI’s extended five-year deal to broadcast the North West 200, he said: “It’s up in the air at the moment and I don’t have anything signed, but we are in negotiations and hopefully it will come off soon.
“The big Superbike race is the one that everyone seems to want and I’d like to try and put my name back on the big trophy again.”
The two-time British champion chalked up a hat-trick last year to extend his record haul of victories to 24 and Seeley has been putting in the hard graft over the winter months as he prepares for the new season.
“I’ve got 24 wins now so we’re knocking on rightly and with the five-year (BBC Sport NI) extension, hopefully I’ll still be racing in five years at the North West,” he said.
“Where we will end up I don’t know but I’m putting the effort in at the minute during this winter season and doing the work behind the scenes.
“I’ve a good team with EHA Racing for the North West and hopefully when we arrive at the North Coast we can win another two Supersport races.”