Hutchinson all revved up to renew rivalry with Dunlop at Dundrod GP
Isle of Man TT Superstock winner Ian Hutchinson was at yesterday's launch of the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix - and said he was looking forward to this year's event with local team Tyco BMW, where he was sure to reignite his on-track rivalry with fellow TT winner Michael Dunlop on August 13 at Dundrod.
Speaking at the launch at Lagan Valley Island, the Bingley ace said: "I had a great TT and am very much hoping to get back on the top step at Dundrod."
British Superbike star and last year's UGP Superbike winner Peter Hickman was also in fine form at this year's Isle of Man TT, and 'Big Hicky' will be looking to make it a double success at Dundrod in just over five weeks' time.
Speaking from the launch, the JG Speedfit/GB Moto Kawasaki rider said: "I can't wait to get back to the Ulster, and if the weather is good I can see the lap record going."
Joining them on the entry list this August will be the Dunlop brothers, William and Michael Dunlop - the talented Ballymoney duo who took a win apiece last weekend at the AXA Bikecare Skerries 100.
Kiwi Bruce Anstey (47), who is a six-time UGP winner, can never be discounted, and one man who is working hard to repeat last year's hat-trick is reigning Man of the Meeting, Lee Johnston, who will return with his East Coast Racing team.
Looking in fine fettle himself, having shaved off quite a few kilos, is clerk of course at the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix, Noel Johnston.
Johnston said: "I think everyone is excited at the thought of another battle between Hutchy and Michael [Dunlop], but the big difference at Dundrod is that it's a mass start, so there are no corrected times like the TT - just racing at its absolute closest."
Lee Johnston, the Dunlops, Ian Hutchinson and Peter Hickman all have great PR value, but one man who the promoting Dundrod & District Club will be agonising over is a certain Lincolnshireman by the name of Guy Martin.
Having just completed the world's toughest mountain bike challenge at the Tour Divide on the Canadian Rockies, clerk of course Johnston is hoping that the enigmatic truck mechanic come TV star returns to racing at Dundrod, the venue that put an embargo on his career this time last year, after a crash at Ireland's corner.
"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," said Johnston.
Bike Week is running from August 8-13 and includes the Plant Lubrication Dundrod 150 and the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix road races.
Tickets for the event are available now on Ticketmaster.