It was power of a different kind that took centre stage at Stormony yesterday but this time the winner will be the first to take the chequered flag and not first past the post.
Race aces William Dunlop, Bruce Anstey and Conor Cummings were at Parliament Buildings to help launch the McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix — the world’s fastest road race.
It’s quite a year for the Dundrod races as they celebrate their 90th anniversary in style with a week of activities in the lead up to the mouth-watering race programme on August 11.
And Dunlop, who had three podiums last year, is keen to ensure he is chief among the horsepower brokers come race day.
“Dundrod is the best circuit in the world and my favourite,” he said. “With the Wilson Craig Hondas flying I hope to have a good chance of success in all the main classes. Anyone could win, but hopefully in the anniversary year it will be Dunlops all the way.”
Flying Kiwi Bruce Anstey is always a popular figure in this part of the world and he will be back to build upon his impressive past displays at Dundrod.
The New Zealander holds the outright Dundrod lap record at a staggering 133.977 mph, set on his way to winning the second Superbike race in 2010, and will again be one of the men to beat.
“I am proud to hold this record and hope to hold onto it come August,” he said. “I always look forward to the Ulster where I have won seven times. It is a real rider’s circuit and you are never quite sure who can win on the day. I’m getting older and the Dunlop boys are getting faster. It should be a tremendous day’s racing.”
One man who will be chomping at the bit to get in on the act is
Conor Cummins, whose wrist injury picked up at the North West 200 meant the Manxman couldn’t take part at the Isle of Man TT.
“I was gutted at not getting to race on the island, but these things happen,” he said. “The hand is mint now. The Ulster is a fantastic event and I’ve enjoyed every minute since my debut in 2006.”
Co-sponsor of the launch, Edwin Poots MLA is another looking forward to the anniversary.
“As a motorcycling enthusiast I look forward to the world’s fastest road race every August, but this year is something special,” he said.
“Not every event can claim a 90-year pedigree and I’m delighted to be part of what promises to be an exciting celebration.”
His view was echoed by clerk of the course Noel Johnston, who added: “We in the Dundrod and District Club are proud to be celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the Ulster Grand Prix and I would like to thank all the sponsors and stakeholders who have supported the event to this point.”
Bike Week 2012 will run befrom August 6-11 with the Topaz Dundrod 150 meeting taking place on Thursday, August 9 and the McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix on Saturday, August 11.