Portadown man Marshall Neill is aiming to upstage the big guns at the Sunflower Trophy meeting at Bishopscourt on October 26.
Neill will ride Wilson Craig’s immaculately prepared Honda Superbike and Supersport machines at Northern Ireland’s short circuit showpiece, which returns to the calendar after a year’s absence.
The Co Armagh rider has never managed to secure the coveted silverware but Neill is confident he has a solid chance of mixing it up with headline acts Alastair Seeley, Stuart Easton and young American British Superbike sensation PJ Jacobsen on his home patch.
Neill, who has been riding in selected National Superstock 1000 rounds this season, used last weekend’s British championship round at Silverstone to clock up some miles on Craig’s CBR6000RR Honda, claiming a brace of respectable 11th place finishes.
He proved his class at the Northamptonshire circuit with an impressive ride to sixth on the Ryan McGill Joinery Kawasaki in the Superstock 1000 race and Neill is feeling optimistic of his chances at Bishopscourt, where he conquered a top class field packed with star names to win both Supersport races on Craig’s Honda in 2010.
“We used Silverstone as a bit of a warm-up on Wilson’s Supersport bike because I haven’t rode a 600 since the Enkalon meeting earlier this year,” Neill said.
“We had a steady run and finished 11th twice, so I was happy enough.
“I managed to win both 600 races for Wilson in 2010 against a quality field so hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves again,” he added.
“Wilson’s bikes are always fast and I’m looking forward to getting a run on the Superbike again. I’ve never won the Sunflower but I was on the podium in 2010 with a third place, so we shouldn’t be too far away.
“We’ll give it our best shot and see what happens.”
Scottish rider Easton will ride in the Supersport and Superbike classes on the Mar-Train Yamaha machines, with Seeley joined by his Gearlink Kawasaki team-mate Ben Wilson for the 600cc races.
The Carrick rider is also attempting to finalise a Superbike ride for the event, which is being backed by loyal sponsor Jim Finlay for the 37th time.
The line-up also includes Lee Johnston, David Haire, Cody Nally, Nico Mawhinney, Carl Phillips and Jason Lynn.
Paul Bird has pledged to run his Kawasaki machines at the Sunflower, with riders yet to be confirmed. The organisers are also in talks with BSB team Buildbase BMW.
Practice takes place on Friday, October 25, from 9am with morning warm-up on Saturday, October 26, also pencilled in for 9am.
Admission is £20 for both days, or £15 for Saturday only (including official programme).