Derek McGee will be aiming to stretch his unbeaten run of 14 victories at the 10th anniversary Bayview Hotel Armoy Road Races this weekend.
The Mullingar rider has been on a hot streak since his runner-up finish in the Lightweight race at the Isle of Man TT, claiming five-timers at Enniskillen and Faugheen and a quadruple at Walderstown.
Home favourite Michael Dunlop has dominated the ‘Race of Legends’ with a record seven consecutive wins in the blue riband event at Armoy since 2011, but there is a question mark hanging over his participation following the tragic death of his brother William in a crash at the Skerries 100 on July 7.
Dublin rider Derek Sheils, who sat out the Walderstown and Faugheen meetings, is a non-starter for the Burrows Engineering Racing team.
Sheils is taking some time away from road racing to weigh up his future in the wake of the recent tragedies that have hit the sport.
However, Tobermore’s Adam McLean is set to compete at Armoy after claiming he was ‘unlikely’ to race again this season.
The Ulster rider was back in action last weekend at the Ulster Superbike meeting at Bishopscourt.
McLean’s McAdoo Racing team-mate, James Cowton, died in a crash at the Southern 100.
With Sheils out and uncertainty over Dunlop, McGee’s main opposition in the Superbike class is likely to come from English prospect Davey Todd and Skerries man Michael Sweeney.
Top Isle of Man TT newcomer Todd has been making steady progress on the Burrows Engineering Racing Suzuki this season and impressed at Armoy in 2017, where he finished on the podium twice.
Form man McGee has prevented the 22-year-old from clinching a breakthrough win this season, but Todd feels he is edging ever closer.
“Whoever is there, Derek McGee is going to be one of the strongest guys at Armoy and it’s been good to be riding with him week in, week out as he’s one of the strongest guys on the roads at the minute,” he said.
“But I believe if we keep learning and keep pushing, then I can be in the mix.”
Magherafelt’s Paul Jordan is also hoping to stake his claim for the podium after he kept McGee honest in the Supersport race at Faugheen in County Tipperary.
The 27-year-old has been operating on a shoestring budget this year and only has his 600 Yamaha for Armoy, although Jordan has been overwhelmed by the generous support he received after announcing a fundraising initiative through social media.
He said: “I made a wee appeal on social media for any fans wanting to help out to make a donation of £20 each. In return their names will be on my bike at Armoy and they’ll also be entered into a draw to win a team jacket.
“The response was fantastic and I’ll plan on doing the same thing again for the Ulster Grand Prix,” he added.
“We had a good run at Faugheen last weekend and I wasn’t far behind Derek at all, so hopefully we’ll be able to get another decent result.”
Entries also include Christian Elkin, Sam Dunlop, Paul Robinson, Dominic Herbertson, Thomas Maxwell, Kevin Fitzpatrick and Darryl Tweed.
Roads close for practice on Friday from 12:30pm. The first Supersport 600 and Senior Support races are scheduled to take in the evening.
On Saturday, roads close at 10am for the main race programme.