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Tele to back Ulster Grand Prix

The Belfast Telegraph is once again set to back the Ulster Grand Prix which takes place in August.

The company announced the deal yesterday and pointed out that there would be a combined support package of cash, editorial and in-paper promotional support.

Belfast Telegraph Ulster Grand Prix week takes place this summer from August 11-16.

The main Race Day, which always provides a thrilling afternoon's sport, will go ahead on Saturday August 16. The promoters Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club are signing up riders and the aim is to have a similar line up to last year.

Numerous top stars turned out in 2007 and the same sceanrio is likely again as the top riders love competing in the 'Ulster'.

The top name once again looks like being John McGuinness who last year set a lap record of 131.7mph in the Dundrod 150 Superbike event which backed the main meeting.

Ian Hutchinson from Yorkshire is another who organisers will hope to attract.

Certainly the Northern Ireland bike fans would love to see Hutchinson, who set the fastest-ever Ulster Grand Prix lap record in 2006 achieving 130.8mph in the Superbike race.

These speeds give an indication of the standard of racing one can expect over the Dundrod circuit and one man who will be watched with interest is Guy Martin who had a four timer in 2006 and last year won the 2007 Dundrod 150 Superbike race.

Martin's achievement was also part of an accolade which went to the race itself which was voted the Race of the Year by visitors to a website.

Martin is expected to be one of the entries this year along with McGuinness who has had two Ulster Grand Prix wins but has never been successful in the Superbike class.

McGuinness said: "It's time I changed all that and perhaps this will be my year.

"My current record is in the 250cc and the 600cc classes where I have been successful.

"The fact that I had a fast lap at last year's Dundrod 150 has given me confidence and I feel if I can produce a lap record on this circuit in one race I can do the same in another, namely the Ulster Grand Prix itself."

William Dunlop was a guest of honour at the press conference which launched the Ulster.

He said: "I'm looking forward to racing at the meeting which has always been one of my favourites and as you know I was successful last year, so hopefully we can do it again."

Clerk of the course Noel Johnston said once again the Ulster Grand Prix bike week will feature an 11 race programme with five races running on Thursday night's Dundrod 150 while Saturday's race will see six races culminating in the Belfast Telegraph Superbike race.

"The Dundrod club are delighted to welcome the Telegraph race as the sponsor of this year's meeting.

"The Telegraph's financial support is vital in maintaining and developing the event and we believe the paper's high profile will benefit the Ulster in terms of additional spectators and competitors."

The Dundrod club have also planned or have already implemented a number of course improvements.

Lisburn City Council will once again play a key role in supporting the race and Mayor Councillor James Tinsley said: "The council are once again delighted to support the race and it is great to see a number of top riders already gearing up for success. The council have again agreed to provide financial assistance to ensure the continuing success of the event.

"The Ulster Grand Prix is a flagship event in the city of Lisburn and with even more improvements round the circuit this year I know we can all look forward to some thrilling road racing at Dundrod."

Belfast Telegraph

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From Belfast Telegraph