Hot prospect Davey Todd hopes to be in contention to challenge for a prestigious Superbike podium for Northern Ireland team Burrows Engineering Racing at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix.
Pole man Conor Cummins, last year’s man of the meeting Peter Hickman and Dundrod lap record holder Dean Harrison are the pre-race favourites, but Todd could be the man to put a cat amongst the pigeons.
The 22-year-old has been in terrific form on the Suzuki GSX-R1000 in particular this year, setting the second fastest ever newcomer lap at 128.397mph at the Isle of Man TT on his way to ninth in the Senior race.
Todd only made his debut at Dundrod last year but the Saltburn rider qualified third fastest for the Superstock race and fifth in the Superbike class, narrowly missing out on a front row start to David Johnson, who was fourth fastest on the Tyco BMW HP4 Race.
The British Supermoto frontrunner, who lapped at 131.890mph in Superbike qualifying, was fourth in Thursday’s Supersport race following a battle for the final podium spot with Dean Harrison.
However, Todd rates the 1000cc class as his best chance of a rostrum.
“It’s really my first year at Dundrod on a big bike because I didn’t have any time on the Yamaha R1 I had last year,” he said.
“It’s been a whole new learning curve but I’ve just been feeling more and more comfortable on the Suzuki as the year has progressed and I’m favouring the GSX-R1000 more than any of the other bikes.
“I just seem to go well on it and I’m making great progress, so I’m pulling in results that I really honestly never expected and I’m over the moon with that. I absolutely can’t wait to start at the front on Saturday and it puts me in good stead because we’re up at the front,” he added.
“Hopefully we can have a good start and get into the mix with those boys and see how things go.”
Todd slotted in behind TT star Harrison during Superstock qualifying on Thursday, lapping at 131.436mph to seal a front row start as he surprised himself by his pace on the big Suzuki.
“I got a good tow behind Dean Harrison in Superstock qualifying and I realised that I was actually a bit faster than him in a few places around the circuit,” he said.
“There were a couple of different areas where Dean was stronger than me but I was really surprised by the pace I had on the big bike, with being third faster on the GSX-R1000 ’stocker and fifth on the Superbike.
“I think we can really make something of that in the races on Saturday and we’re learning all the time.”
He was left to rue a mistake in the Supersport race on Thursday, which he felt cost him any chance of battling for the rostrum on the Burrows Honda CBR600RR.
“In the Supersport race I had a really good battle with Dean and I probably lost out on third through my own mistake.
“I missed a gear and hit a false neutral coming out of the hairpin and it just lost me that little bit with Dean and let him get away. I was disappointed about that because once someone gets a break on you around Dundrod, it’s really hard to pull that back,” he said.
“I had to settle for fourth position but it’s fantastic to be battling with those guys and finishing in front of Peter Hickman was an achievement in itself.”