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Thompson tunes up for UGP

Vroom service: (from left) Miss NI finalist Zoe Robb, UGP’s Noel Johnston, rider Stephen Thompson and Rajesh Rana, Andras House

By Robert Jones

Crumlin rider Stephen Thompson believes his switch to the Bathams BMW team for 2014 will give him his best ever opportunity to stand on the podium at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix.

The 36-year-old will ride for the Braunton based team in the Superbike and Superstock classes at this season’s UGP in August.

While Thompson has yet to finish in the top three at an international road race, he recorded his best finish at last year’s Senior TT in 15th place and has numerous top 10 finishes at the UGP.

“It’s an event I always enjoy but I’m especially looking forward to racing with the new BMW S1000RR,” he said.

“The bike was something of an unknown quantity on the roads, but BMW have really committed to road racing this year and the S1000RR has already proved itself in the hands of Michael Dunlop and Michael Rutter at the North West 200.

“I’m working hard to get the bike set up and I’m confident we will have a strong package and be close to the front at Dundrod.”

Thompson’s comments came as the Ramada Plaza became the event’s hotel partner.

Rajesh Rana, director of Andras House Ltd, who own the Ramada Plaza and Days Hotel, said: “The races are an important part of Northern Ireland’s culture and they bring a significant amount of tourism and business to our local economy.

“The Ramada Plaza and Days Hotel will be supporting the event in any way we can with accommodation, venue hire and hospitality. We wish all the riders taking part good luck.”

UGP fans can claim 10% off room rates during August 11-16 Bike Week by visiting the website of either hotel and inputting the promo code UGP2014.

UGP Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston added: “It’s great to see road racing continue to attract high profile sponsors and we are really excited about working with our hotel partners.”

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