Ulster Grand Prix: Rivals wary of Ian Hutchinson's return after serious injury
One man on the grid for the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix with a will to win must be Ian Hutchinson, who unofficially recorded the fifth fastest speed in yesterday’s free Superbike practice session.
Hutchinson’s last victory at Dundrod was in 2010, after which his season ended at a Silverstone BSB round when he suffered a career-threatening leg injury.
Over 30 operations later the ‘Bingley Bullet’ laid all the ghosts to rest in June this year when he raced to a sensational treble at the TT having finished runner-up to Bruce Anstey in the opening Superbike race.
The results shocked most people bar Hutchinson himself, who never gave up the belief that, despite the horrific, well documented injury, he could return to winning ways at an event where he set a unique record by winning all five solo TT races in June 2010.
His latest TT exploits will have set the cat amongst the pigeons for the UGP as his rivals will be nervously looking over their shoulders for the PBM Kawasaki in Superbike and Superstock plus the Traction Control Monster Yamaha owned by Prodigy frontman Keith Flint in Supersport.
Hutchinson’s dramatic return to the top step has to be one of the greatest comebacks ever in the history of the sport.
Talking of the Ulster, Hutchy said: “The Dundrod circuit is probably amongst my favourites and last year was the first time in four years I had raced here, but the package wasn’t just right.
“I know the PBM and Keith Flint bikes are competitive, I have been riding well so there is no reason why I shouldn’t be chasing a podium or two.
“I know to win a race here will be tough given the competition, but I’m up for it. Let’s hope for better weather for the rest of the event.”