MOTORBIKES: Countdown is on to Ulster Grand Prix

Maria Costello, Ivan Lintin, Ian Hutchinson, Dan Kneen,  and Peter Hickman pictured with clerk of the course Noel Johnston at MCE  Insurance UGP launch. INLT 28-901-CON
Maria Costello, Ivan Lintin, Ian Hutchinson, Dan Kneen, and Peter Hickman pictured with clerk of the course Noel Johnston at MCE Insurance UGP launch. INLT 28-901-CON

An all-star lineup including Ian Hutchinson, Peter Hickman, Ivan Lintin, Dean Harrison, Maria Costello and Dan Kneen helped launch the 2016 MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix.

Joining them at the ciruit next month will be Michael Dunlop, William Dunlop, Bruce Anstey and reigning Man of the Meeting Lee Johnston to name just a few, but it’s the fierce rivalry that has emerged between Hutchinson and the younger Dunlop that seems to have caught the attention of road racing fans everywhere.

Their battle at the TT has set the scene for what promises to be another epic duel at Dundrod, which is still officially the World’s Fastest Road Race with a lap record of 133.977mph.

Both men are already multiple winners at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix and both will be hoping to stake their claim for the final international silverware of the season.

Noel Johnston, Clerk of the Course at the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix, said: “I think everyone is excited at the thought of another battle between Hutchy and Michael, but the big difference at Dundrod is that it’s a mass start so there are no corrected times, just racing at its absolute closest. I don’t think they’ll have it all their own way however, as there are a number of fast riders on the grid who I’m sure will be ready to challenge. Dean Harrison is one, as he really seems to have found his form this season with the Silicon Engineering squad, while Peter Hickman could add to his sensational Superbike win from last year. Lee Johnston too, after his performance here last year, will be another hoping to extend his winning run at the Ulster. He’s always popular with the fans and real character both on and off the track.

“Then of course there’s Guy Martin. We’re hoping that Guy will be back at the Ulster once again this August, and while he might be short on track time this season you could never bet against him at Dundrod, as he’s enjoyed so many great races here before.”

Alongside the stellar line-up on track, the organisers also confirmed another packed schedule of entertainment for the 94th MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix and the Plant Lubrication (NI) Dundrod 150 road races.

Johnston added: “I’d like to thank all of our sponsors for their support, particularly MCE Insurance, our title sponsor, Plant Lubrication NI, the title sponsor of the Dundrod 150 and our event partners Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Tourism NI, TBF Thompson – Hitachi, as well as the fantastic support we receive from the UGP Supporters Club. Not to mention all of our race sponsors, volunteers and fans. It couldn’t happen without the collaboration of each and every one of you,” he said

Bike Week runs from the August 8-13 and include the Plant Lubrication Dundrod 150 and the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix road races.