EAST Antrim rider Alastair Seeley is looking positively towards the 2013 racing season, despite coming off a really disappointing campaign in 2012 when, after the NW200, seemed to go right.
In 2009, Seeley, nicknamed the ‘Wee Wizard’, won the British Superstock title and followed it up by finishing sixth in the British Superbike Championship.
In 2011the Carrick moved into the Supersport class on the 600 Suzuki, and delivered another British title for the TAS squad, along with numerous NW200 wins over the three years. So, what went wrong in 2012 for the local rider? It had all started so well when he was on the rostrum at Brands Hatch and that treble at the NW200.
“I just couldn’t change my style from the 600 to the Superbike and that, along with some bad luck, added up to a miserable season,” Seeley told the Times. “It was so bad I contemplated switching to the Supersport class for the remaining two rounds of the British Championship, just to try and regain some confidence, but it was decided that a replacement could not be found for the Superbike and the idea was shelved. I suppose it was the right move to finish what I had started but I can say now that I was glad when the season ended.”
Seeley said luck wasn’t on his side. He explained: “At Donington there was the oil spill issue then at Thruxton the fuel tank split. It was replaced for Oulton and the very same thing happened. In one of the Oulton races I was lying fourth or fifth and the back brake stuck on. At Snetterton I crashed in practice and set the thing on fire. Then in the race I had gear box problems meaning that I couldn’t go from fourth to first as it stuck in third. I couldn’t get it out of third and going around the hairpin in third is not recommended.
“The gearbox problem reared its head again at Silverstone. It was a year to forget. As much luck as I had in the 2011 dream year when I won the British Supersport title, the Irish rider of the year title and a few wins at the NW200, I must have used it all up as I haven’t had any luck since. I even ended up 13th in the championship. It says it all,” he laughed.
For 2013 Alastair is returning to the Supersport class. The team he will be riding with has yet to be revealed but he told the Times an announcement can be expected soon. “I am not even looking for a Superbike ride; I want, and I suppose need, to go back to a class where I had so much fun, enjoyment, satisfaction and race wins. I might not have a year as good as 2011, but, for me, it just seems the right thing to do. When we looked at the data from this year on the Superbike I was riding it like a Supersport bike and it doesn’t work.
“The 600, I feel, is the ideal scenario to return to and now it is all about getting the right team. If I can get another title out of it in 2013 I think I would pursue a World Supersport ride and forget even chasing another Superbike ride. It is kind of like saying I’ve won that Supersport title and went to Superbikes and it didn’t work so I went back and won a supersport title and I wouldn’t obviously follow the same path. I would go a different path.”
Seeley said he would still like to be able to race in the NW200 where he has been so successful in the past.
“With TAS they could supply something for the British Championship, then come the NW200, they could supply a full stable of machinery for the NW. It is different with some of the British championship teams as they concentrate on the British scene without the roads. For me, it is all about joining a supersport team that can give me a Superbike and Superstock bike alongside the supersport for the NW200. There is not very many of them. It is a hard decision.
“Do I want to go and get different bikes for different classes? Not really, so I am looking for a team that can supply the lot. There is only a couple of teams in my view can deliver that and that’s all I am saying on the matter.”
But, with the right package, Seeley said he would aim for a British title and a good North West.
“I would like that,” he said. “Another British title would do nicely. At last year’s NW200 everyone got hung up on me doing the five-timer or winning them all.
“Success at the NW200 is very important to me and I don’t see why I cannot continue my success around the place.”
Another big change for the coming season is that Alastair is on the look-out for additional sponsors. “At the minute I’m having to chase personal sponsorship for 2013,” he revealed. “Over the past few years, being a professional rider has meant that I have had the luxury of getting a wage but all that has changed. It is not easy finding the right backers as I have found recently. Even for the NW200, the biggest outdoor sporting event in Ireland, I am struggling to attract sponsors. Maybe potential sponsors are under the illusion that I am already getting well paid. I can assure them I am not.”
If anyone would like to be involved with Alastair in 2013, even if only at the NW200 they should contact him on 07756406798 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org