Fired-up William Dunlop is relishing battle for Ulster Grand Prix joy
William Dunlop believes a 130mph Supersport lap is possible this week at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix if conditions are favourable on his CD/IC Racing Yamaha and revealed that the only man he fears in the class is Kiwi Bruce Anstey
The seven-time UGP winner is unbeaten this season on the Irish National scene in the middleweight class, but warned the best is yet to come from his specially built Yamaha.
“The Yamaha R6 that I have is all geared for top-end power, so it doesn’t really get to show its potential on the Irish national scene, but it will do at Dundrod,” said the County Antrim man, who recently turned 30.
Speaking of his aspirations and reviewing his main rivals, he continued: “I’m not sure if the weather is going to be favourable, but I believe a 130mph lap is on at Dundrod on my Supersport bike.
“The bike is even better than I expected it to be this year. I’ve a new engine coming for this week, so all I need is a bit of luck.
“The other boys don’t scare me, but if Bruce Anstey gets out of bed on the right side, he’s the only one I believe can beat me if I’m on the top of my game.”
A Supersport victory would be a welcome addition to the quietly-spoken Ulsterman’s CV, but more importantly — as he is well aware — producing the goods for Tyco BMW, for whom he will ride in the Superbike and Superstock classes, is imperative.
TAS Racing have put their faith in Dunlop in the past two seasons. He’s a popular figure in the Moneymore-based team and his victory in the Superbike class at last year’s North West 200 was well received all round.
This year, the switch to BMW power has seen Dunlop and team-mate Guy Martin take a glut of national wins on the German-built S1000RR, but both men understand the importance of an international win for BMW Motorrad this week at Dundrod.
Dunlop explained: “This year at Dundrod is going to be the toughest ever, as there are half a dozen riders who will be looking to challenge for the Superbike and Superstock wins, but that’s what I’m after.”
Somewhat surprisingly, Dunlop believes his best chance of a 1000cc win will come in the Superstock class, where previously he had little or no interest in even competing.
“I haven’t really sat much on the Superbike this year, but I have ridden the Superstock bike quite a bit and I feel really comfortable on it,” he said.
“It’s the first time I’ve ridden a stocker at Dundrod in four or five years, but this is the one I believe I can win on.”
Like many of his peers, Dunlop loves the fast flowing nature of Dundrod, and said: “It’s a proper road race and for me as big as the TT. The TT was a disaster for me as I really thought I could go and win on the Tyco BMW, so it’s a big week for me coming up.”
With 12 races, five classes and 170 riders on the entry list, picking a race winner at the 2015 Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix will be a difficult task.
Noel Johnston, the Clerk of the Course, said: “We’ve got one of our strongest ever line-ups this year, the talent and depth of quality is fantastic. It’s great news for us as the organisers, but it’s even better for the fans.
“They can expect some really close racing, as it’s almost impossible to pick a winner in any class. The entry list alone suggests we’re in for some great battles.”
There are a record number of competitors, including 47 newcomers, representing 17 countries and the formbook is wide open as Bike Week 2015 gets under way today. Roads close for the opening practice sessions from 12.00pm to 9.30pm.