Dan Kneen out to make up for lost time with Ulster Grand Prix glory
After his successful return to racing at the Southern 100 just last week, Manxman Dan Kneen — who missed the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT through injury — is champing at the bit to ride his Mar-Train Racing Yamahas at next month’s MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix.
Kneen, who joined Tim and Sonya Martin’s Temple-based Yamaha UK-supported team at the end of 2015, is determined to replicate his 2014 Ulster Grand Prix Superstock victory at Dundrod — a year in which he also became the Irish Road Racing Superbike champion.
“Breaking one arm and badly hurting the other one was a massive blow, it was like a bad dream,” said Kneen.
“It has been really tough just sitting on the sidelines missing out on so much action, especially considering things were going so well with the Mar-Train Yamahas.”
Missing the TT on home soil was a bitter blow for Kneen, but now all his focus is on the Ulster Grand Prix, where he aims to be in the mix across all classes.
“I’m loving being with the Mar-Train guys and both bikes are going great,” he said.
“A win at the Ulster would really be amazing and I’d like to be able to do it for Tim and the whole team, especially after spending too much of the season on the sidelines.”
Kneen was on hand during the MCE UGP launch to announce a new sponsorship deal with Whitemountain Centra Service Station, who are backing Supersport race one.
Sam Finlay, owner of Whitemountain and the man who introduced Guy Martin to Irish National Road Racing, said: “We are passionate about road racing and have been for many years.
“In fact, I was a mechanic back in the ‘80s for Martin Barr and Johnny Rea. Then, in 2003, I met a very young Guy Martin and he ended up racing for us and living on the current Whitemountain site.
“We’re delighted to sponsor the Supersport race this year, as the event is just a mile from our shop and we always support it with special offers and deliveries to the paddock.
“We have planned another fun day on Friday August 12 from 1pm to 4pm; it was a big hit last year and we’re planning a bigger and better one this year so don’t miss it!”
Noel Johnston, the Clerk of the Course at the Ulster Grand Prix, commented: “For Dan to be in contention with Michael Dunlop at the Southern 100 during his first race since Tandragee is pretty impressive stuff.
“We’re glad Dan is fighting fit in time for the last, and arguably the most important, international road race of the season.
“This is a chance for everyone to end their season on a high, and it goes without saying that everyone will be coming here to win.
“I must also give my thanks to Sam at Whitemountain Centra Service Station for getting on board with sponsorship of one of the seven feature races at the MCE UGP.
“The buy-in and support of businesses and people around the circuit perimeter is very important to us.”
Fans can buy tickets to attend the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix and Plant Lubrication (NI) Dundrod 150, which get under way next month, online via Ticketmaster.
Tickets will also be available to buy on the roads approaching the circuit during Bike Week and in the race office.