Former Irish and Adelaide Masters Supersport champion David Haire has taken a back seat from racing this season to concentrate on the final year of his teaching degree.
But the affable Lisburn lad will be back on the grid this weekend for the Sunflower Trophy races at Bishopscourt where he will ride his own 600cc Yamaha as well as a 650cc Supertwin for Ryan Farquhar's KMR Kawasaki team.
The articulate Stranmillis University College student, who is studying Physical Education and Design and Technology, is delighted to be back on a bike this weekend and, as we have come to expect from the 27-year-old, he hopes to be competitive.
"Apart from a 10-lap race at Easter, when I won the Enkalon Trophy race which was purely a chance to sell my Ducati, I haven't ridden a bike all summer," said Haire, who spent a number of months in Austria and Finland advancing his studies.
"I took a gap year from racing and went away to do some work on my thesis, but I'm glad to be back," explained Haire, who has also found time over the summer to build his own Supersport machine, which he described as "the best bike I've ever ridden".
"When I sold the Ducati I bought an R6 Yamaha with very little mileage on it from English racer Ben Wylie. Well-known tuner Frank Wrathall sorted the engine and Chris Taylor from K-Tech has supported me with suspension," he said.
"It was a bit of a project for me and having ridden it for the first time this week in a test at Kirkistown, yes, I have to admit it's the best Supersport bike I've ever ridden," said Haire.
Looking ahead to this weekend's action - which by his own admission wouldn't have happened without the support of personal sponsors Richard Maze, Aidan McLernan and his former school teacher Austin Benson - Haire explained: "I've some good people around me and I also have to thank Eric Lyons from the Hillsborough Club and my personal training guru Colin 'Splodge' McKee for their input.
"Stevie Bloomer is a very intelligent part of our set-up," he added.
Defining his aspirations in the Supersport class, he said: "Having ridden the 600 Yamaha I don't see any reason why I cannot be up there challenging with the likes of British championship regulars Andrew Irwin and David Allingham."
That aside, Haire was delighted to receive a call from KMR Kawasaki team owner Farquhar to ride one of his immaculately prepared Supertwins this weekend.
"It's normally me chasing people for a ride, so when Ryan rang me and asked me what my plans were for the Sunflower I jumped at the chance," beamed a delighted Haire.
"His bikes are a work of art and, although we are going to Bishopscourt with a blank canvas for both machinery, I think we can post good times and be right up there," said a confident Haire.
The Sunflower Trophy action gets under way today at Bishopscourt with practice and qualifying from 9.00am, followed after that by three support races.
A full 14-race programme is scheduled for tomorrow from 11.00am after the morning warm-up.