Delighted Ulster Grand Prix organisers had a skip in their step as they launched a packed programme of events for their August 8-14 Bike Week.
The famous old race will have a new title sponsor on board as they welcomed Nutts Corner-based McKinstry Skip Hire.
Race chiefs also voiced their confidence that the revamped and rebranded Dundrod event will live up to its billing as the ‘World's Fastest Road Race.’
Dundrod Club President James Courtney said: “Bike Week 2009 saw some truly exceptional racing which reignited excitement and enthusiasm for the Ulster Grand Prix after the weather quite literally put a dampener on proceedings the previous year.
“We’re confident we can build on that success and continue to attract today’s top road racers.
“Last year we retained the accolade of ‘World’s Fastest Road Race’ when Conor Cummins broke all existing records with a blistering 133mph lap.
“Although Conor will unfortunately be unable to defend his title this August, I’ve no doubt that others such as Ian Hutchinson who were snapping at his heels last year, will be doing their best to match or better it this time around.”
Top racers and confirmed competitors Ryan Farquhar and William Dunlop were joined at the Lagan Valley Island centre launch by new Lisburn Mayor, Alderman Paul Porter and Sports Minister Nelson McCausland.
As ever, the importance of safety was a key message.
Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston stressed: “I’m always looking for ways to improve the safety of the circuit. Over the last number of years, we’ve spent about £400,000 making safety improvements such as removable fencing.
“I’m responsible not only for putting on a great day of racing but also for doing my utmost to ensure that everyone goes home safe and well at the end of the day. That is the least that the riders and the fans deserve and I take that responsibility very seriously.”
Minister McCausland added his support, saying: “Road racing is part of the sporting and cultural fabric of Northern Ireland and the Ulster Grand Prix continues to be one of the most popular motorsport events here.
“I would like to wish the event organisers every success for Bike Week 2010.”
Admission to Bike Week events is by wristband at a cost of £15. This includes entry to practice on Wednesday, August 11, Dundrod 150 races on Thursday, August 12, main race day on Saturday, August 14 and access to the paddock all week.
Bike Week Schedule:
Sunday, August 8: Wall of death, trial star stunt show (daily). Sponsored walk — one lap of the Dundrod circuit.
Monday, August 9: 30 Motorcycle Club of Ireland classic bikes display at Pits and Lagan Valley Island.
Tuesday, August 10: David Jeffries Memorial Super Moto racing at Nutt’s Corner.
Wednesday, August 11: Practice day. Evening — amateur boxing tournament.
Thursday, August 12: Dundrod 150 races. Evening — UGP Supporters Club chat show
Friday, August 13: 6.30pm onwards — Auto test in the paddock, Belfast Community Circus. 8 til late musical entertainment in bar marquee.
Saturday, August 14: Before races begin — David McCall Memorial bicycle race round circuit. Main races. 8 til late — chequered flag wrap up party.