Phillips out to power up title quest
Carl Phillips will lead the charge when the Mid Antrim 150 Club host the fifth round of the AJ Plumbing Supplies Ulster Superbike Championship at Bishopscourt on Saturday.
The event - with sponsorship from Classic Bike Festival Ireland - will be held on the shorter Intermediate Circuit, omitting the hairpin section of the course.
Lisburn rider Phillips has a 72 point lead over Alistair Kirk in the USB series having won seven of the eight races to date, Kirk winning last time out at Kirkistown.
One man looking to move up the table is defending champion Gerard Kinghan, currently in sixth position on the IFS Yamaha, while Nico Mawhinney hasn't had the best of luck to date due to a couple of crashes, but is well capable of running with the front runners on his Team Polaris Kawasaki.
Phillips is an interesting entry in the Lightweight 400cc class on Saturday and is likely to provide stiff opposition to Stephen McKeown, the Maghera man having won seven of the eight races held this season.
Christian Elkin, yet to win a race, leads the Supersport class on 153 points, 28 clear of Mark Conlin, but defending champion Jason Lynn is back from early season British Supersport rides and will start a hot favourite for race wins.
Johnny Irwin takes an unbeaten record into the Pre-Injection races on Saturday that will see a full programme of championship races, practice commencing at 9am with four races between qualifying and the lunch break.
The Man of the Meeting will receive the Spring Cup and a cash sum.
Team Go Eleven Ducati rider Eugene Laverty has spoken about his recovery from a double wrist break suffered at Imola, as the Toomebridge man hopes to return to action during the seventh round of the World Superbike Championship at Misano in eight days' time.
"I have been 100% focused on my recovery and working towards my return to racing, hence the silence the past few weeks," he said.
"It was very difficult watching the races in Jerez at the weekend and I felt sad not being there racing my Team Go Eleven Ducati.
"I'm itching to get back out there to showcase the potential of my machine, ideally in Misano, but the clock is ticking and I'm doing everything possible in my rehabilitation to be ready.
"My left wrist has progressed well as it was a straightforward fracture, but the right is a bit more complicated with fractures of the radius, ulna and scaphoid.
"As a racer I need targets and goals to help me work day in, day out to speed up my recovery.
"Hands to a motorbike racer are like feet to a footballer, they are money makers, therefore I have to be 100% fit before I can come back to race.
"And that is something I will only know over the next week prior to Misano."