British Superstock champion Davey Todd was full of praise for the organising team of the Southern 100 at the 2023 launch night last Friday.

‘I was desperate to come back to Billown after my debut in 2018, and then missing 2019 and the two pandemic years.

‘It took Clive Padgett and the Milenco by Honda team some persuading, but they eventually agreed and it proved a great decision,’ said the 27-year-old Northumbrian.

‘2022 was a fantastic year for me, every weekend was brilliant, but the Southern 100 and Armoy were my favourite events.

‘When Clive [Padgett] and I were planning for 2023, the Southern 100 was straight back in the calendar.’

All being well, if the North West 200 does go ahead [and it is still very much in the balance], Todd will be faced with a similar list of events to 2022. The one major change is that he will be tackling the full British Superbike Championship alongside the likes of Peter Hickman, Dean Harrison and Josh Brookes.

‘Last year at the Southern was fantastic. Every race apart from the first one, when Dean Harrison hit mechanical problems, ended with split seconds between myself and Dean or Michael Dunlop and Jamie Coward. It was class racing from start to finish.

‘We only came with a small van and the bikes, so I spent a lot of time chilling under Dean’s awning next door to us drinking coffee.

‘The Southern 100 club do a fabulous job, ultra-professional and friendly. The team and I left the island saying ‘Why doesn’t every other club run race meetings like this?’

Amongst others at the launch night was 2022 Sidecar champion Pete Founds, his passenger Jevan Walmsley travelled up from Louth in Lincolnshire in time to attend the following evening’s dinner at the Palace Hotel.

Founds made his racing debut in the 1997 TT as a passenger for Berlin veteran Helmut Lunemann, but didn’t enter as a driver until 2015 when he had local man Jason O’Connor as his ballast.

Since then he has matured into one of the leading drivers and can’t wait for the TT this year.

‘The Southern 100 was close last year. The Crowe brothers were really flying, we had a really good dice with them and Tim Reeves. It was a great meeting.

‘I love coming here, it’s like coming home. I’ve been visiting the island with my family since I was a kid.’

His father Des first rode the TT in 1981.