Meath’s Alan Bonner is eager to put the disappointment of his 2015 practice crash behind him at this year’s MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix in August.
The Devitt RC Express Kawasaki rider came off at Dawson’s Bend on his Superstock machine last year, ruling him out of the remainder of the event.
Bonner, who joined Ivan Lintin in the Bristol-based RC Express Racing squad this season, will ride a 1000cc Kawasaki ZX-10R in the Superstock and Superbike classes at the world’s fastest road race later this summer.
The 2010 Irish Senior Road Race champion said he hopes to make the most of his opportunity with the team to record some solid results at Dundrod and erase the memories of his unfortunate tumble last season.
“I’m pretty excited about the opportunity I now have with RC Express Racing, it’s a mega team and the bikes are absolutely immaculate,” he said.
“To come from working out of the back of my van to something like this – I almost have to pinch myself. The challenge now is to make that next step and move my performance up a level and that’s what I’ll be looking to do at the Ulster.
“I can’t wait to get back to Dundrod, especially after last year’s big crash at Dawson’s during practice,” he added.
“It was really frustrating as I was going well. It’s great to be pushing with the frontrunners but I’m still learning as I haven’t had as many laps as I’d like there yet.”
Like many riders, Bonner is a massive fan of the 7.4-mile Dundrod course, which he rates as the best pure roads circuit in Ireland.
“I haven’t had the luck I want at the UGP yet, but I absolutely love the circuit: it’s without doubt the best in Ireland.
“Credit to the organisers and the effort they put in making improvements every year to make it safer,” he said.
“My favourite thing about the circuit is the Flying Kilo,” he added. “190mph between the hedges – there’s nothing better!”
Ulster GP Clerk of the Cours Noel Johnston said he feels the Irish rider will be one to keep an eye on at the last of the ‘big three’ international road races in two months’ time.
“I’m sure Alan was disappointed not to get the opportunity to prove himself at Dundrod last year but with more experience and the backing of the fantastic RC Express Racing team I think he’ll be one to watch this year,” Johnston said.
“He’s shown great pace at the internationals and clearly has a connection with the circuit and I’m looking forward to seeing his natural ability continue to shine through this August.”
The 2016 MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix will take place between August 8-13.
The headline events include the Dundrod 150 National meeting on Thursday, August 11 with the main race bill taking place on Saturday, August 13.
Practice will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, April 10 and 11 and a full programme of entertainment will be laid on each night in the hospitality marquee.
General admission wristbands and tickets for the Joey Dunlop Grandstand are now on sale via Ticketmaster and can also be purchased around the course during Bike Week.
The official launch of the event will be held at Lagan Valley Island in Lisburn on July 4, with a special Meet the Riders evening taking place at the Ramada Plaza, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast later that evening from 7.30pm.