Lisburn City Council hosted the launch of the McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix at Lagan Valley Island where last year’s triple winner Michael Dunlop and Manxman Dan Kneen were among the guests.
The Ulster celebrates its 90th Anniversary this year and a tremendous line up of local and international riders will come under starters orders when the ‘World’s Fastest Road Race’ revs into action next week.
Isle of Man TT winners Dunlop and Kiwi Bruce Anstey, head the entry along with Tyco Suzuki by TAS pairing Guy Martin (seven wins at Dundrod) and Conor Cummins the previous lap record holder both looking to put a disappointing season behind them by finishing the international road-racing season on a high.
William Dunlop (Wilson Craig Honda) will want to get the better of brother Michael this time around having finished second to him twice last year in the Supersport races.
Anstey of course has the distinction of currently being the fastest road racer in the world after he set an astonishing speed of 133.977mph in 2010 on his way to winning the second Superbike race and he will not want to give up his title easily.
Mayor of Lisburn, Alderman William Leathem put the Ulster into context when he said: “The Dundrod Circuit is regarded as one of the best motorcycle circuits in the world and we are all looking forward to a wonderful and safe race meeting.”
Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston of the organising Dundrod and District Club said: “I’m happy to announce that we have good entries in all races with 16 countries represented.
“There are also 40 newcomers to the race, the most in my 11 years as Clerk of the Course, which is great news.
“Fans can also expect to see the stars of road racing put on a great show at Dundrod next week.
“And it is thanks to everyone who has helped get Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week programme of events up and running.”
Michael Dunlop said: “I was over the moon last year at the Ulster with my treble, my first wins around the Dundrod Circuit.
“A Superbike win is top of the agenda for me this year and I don’t see any reason why I cannot achieve that, as my Hunts Honda backed by McAdoo Racing is on song at the moment having taken me to seven ‘big bike’ wins since the Southern 100.”
The scene is now set for what should be a tremendous week of action that begins on Sunday with the sponsored walk/run around the circuit at 11.30am followed by the annual Church Service to be held in the Paddock Marquee at 3pm.
Practice gets under way on Wednesday, August 8 with roads closed between 1.30pm and 9.30pm, continuing on Thursday when roads close at 10.30am with the Topaz Dundrod 150 5-race programme scheduled from 2pm.
On Saturday the roads close for the 90th Anniversary McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix at 9.30am followed by the seven-race programme; Superstock, Supersport 1, 250cc/Supertwin, Ulster Grand Prix Superbike Race, Supersport 2 and Superbike 2 races.