Dundrod dodgers rev up UGP charge to £25
Rising costs will see a £25 charge to watch next year's Ulster Grand Prix road races at Dundrod — a £10 increase on this year.
Organising Dundrod Motorcycle Club officials blamed the huge £409,000 cost of staging last year's event and also fans who dodged paying any admission fee.
Even with additional financial support from the Tourist Board and Lisburn City Council, the club have still been left with a substantial shortfall.
Despite the quality of racing at Dundrod, with more speed records broken this year, those genuine bike fans who pay their way will wince at the price hike.
They will also be shocked at the Dundrod club's revelation that so many avoided paying this year's £15 admission that takings were lower than in 2007 and 2009.
But charging is clearly a last resort, clearly taken after much deliberation.
A club statement explained: “In the past 10 years we have spent £500,000 on safety around the course with asistance from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and 2 & 4 wheels.
“Without a doubt UGP 2010 produced some of the best racing ever seen around Dundrod and the coverage by Greenlight/BBC on the two large screens was absolutely superb and created a fantastic atmosphere.
“But the reality is we have suffered a serious financial shortfall, which we are struggling with but will overcome. The issue is that many spectators avoided paying the £15 admission charge. In fact, there were more paying spectators in 2007 and 2009.
“It could be said that the world of road racing will always have an issue with funding and our club would like to change that.
“We now believe if the event is to break even then the admission charge has to increase. This is not a decision that we have arrived at lightly and we hope that true road racing fans will understand the reasons for this decision and continue to support us.
“Detailed planning is well underway for the 2011 event and in order to have another year's great racing we must invest heavily in the best riders.
“The admission charge will now be £25 (including vat) which will allow access to all areas all week, except the grandstands and the pit lane. Programmes will remain at £5 and the Joey Dunlop Grandstand seats, at the start/finish, will remain at £25.”