Christian Elkin has won the Ultra-Lightweight race at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix for the past three years running, but the Randalstown-based rider is now targeting a big result in the Supersport class.
The former two-time British 125cc champion will once again line up as the favourite on the Bob Wylie Moto3 Honda at Dundrod, which is one of only three road races he competes in along with the North West 200 and Armoy.
Elkin, who is originally from Macclesfield, will also ride a 600cc Kawasaki at the Ulster GP plus a Kawasaki Supertwin and feels he is ready to improve his results in both classes this year.
“Preparations for Dundrod are going great, I’ve got my Dynocentre NI ER650 Supertwin and I’ve got Bob Wylie’s Moto3 Honda, so I’m looking forward to riding both of them,” Elkin said.
“I’m feeling fairly confident with both of those bikes but I’m especially excited about the Supersport as we’ve traded in the Triumph for a nice new Kawasaki ZX-6R. It’s still early enough in the developments but it will be up to speed for Dundrod.
“I was within the top 10 in both Supersport races last year, with eighth my best position, but I’m looking to go better this year to be honest,” he added.
“There will be a lot of competition but I plan to give it my best shot. I’d love to be in the top three, but I’d take top five as an improvement.”
Elkin cites Dundrod as his favourite event of the year and his passion for the 7.4-mile course shines through.
“The main event for me every year is the Ulster Grand Prix but I’ll admit it is a struggle coming up against the factory teams as we just don’t have the same funds - we have one bike and one engine, one shot to get it right,” he said.
“I love the track, it’s my favourite by far. It’s a mix of everything; it’s fast, flowing corners where you’re proper tucked in, flat-out top gear corners, there’s hairpins, there’s jumps with the Deer’s Leap – it’s just awesome.”
Elkin has also welcomed the exiting news that Bruce Anstey will make his 250cc debut at Dundrod this year on a Honda for Clive Padgett.
“The news that Anstey is bringing the 250 to Dundrod for the first time this year is a big boost for the smaller classes too,” he said.
“It’s quite exciting but I’d say he’ll be pretty much untouchable out there.
“And the Ultra-Lightweight class is definitely growing slightly now too.”
Noel Johnston, Ulster GP Clerk of the Course, said he was pleased with the entry list for the Ultra-Lightweight and Lightweight races this year.
“The entry list for both events is pretty interesting this year. We have more newcomers than ever before, which is great, and I think we’ll also see a field that is more open than ever for challengers to claim their place in Grand Prix history,” he said.
“Christian seems quietly confident about his new 600 machinery and he’ll have two chances to prove himself, with both the Barron Transport and Centra Whitemountain Supersport races.
“Thanks also to our mutual sponsor, Plant Lubrication (NI) for their continued backing of the MCE Ulster Grand Prix.”
Bike Week runs from August 6-12. Tickets are available now on Ticketmaster.