Belfast Telegraph

Ian Hutchinson is setting his sights on Grand day out

By Roy Harris

Eleven-time TT winner Ian Hutchinson yesterday threw down the gauntlet to his rivals as the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club officially launched the 2015 Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix at the Crumlin Road Gaol.

Hutchinson, who has enjoyed a resurgence on the Isle of Man and at the North West 200 following a four-year battle to regain full fitness after upwards of 30 operations on a leg injury which threatened his career, is relishing the Ulster challenge.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to the Ulster. It’s one of my favourite races and the one I’ve spent the longest away from with my injury.

“In 2010, I scored three wins and took two second places. I had a lot of doubters and equally a lot of people who stood by me through thick and thin after my accident shortly after the Ulster in 2010. My results so far in 2015 are a thank you to all my loyal supporters.

“I think I am riding as well as ever, the bikes are fast and the target is to get back to the top step in all my classes at Dundrod.

“I know I’ll have to fight for it, but I’m not afraid and I can’t wait to get back out at Dundrod.”

Glenn Irwin, who is also confirmed in the line-up, has only one thing on his mind — victory. He said: “I know I’m only in my second year at Dundrod, but I believe I am in with a chance of winning the Supersport races.

“The circuit isn’t too difficult to learn and my dad has been giving me a few pointers. Like Hutchy and the rest of the boys, I can’t wait to get out on track.”

As well as Hutchy and Irwin, the line-up also includes Dan Kneen and Dean Harrison — who fought out a great battle in last year’s Superstock race, which saw one of the closest finishes in the 93-year history of the Ulster Grand Prix — Michael and William Dunlop, Guy Martin, Bruce Anstey and Peter Hickman, the fastest ever newcomer at Dundrod. Welshman Paul Owen, who is now semi-retired after 22 years competing, has been brought on board as rider liaison officer.

Clerk of the Course, Noel Johnston, said: “The stage is once again set for some close racing and intense battles around the 7.4-mile Dundrod course with Michael Dunlop looking for his first international race win of the year, while Lee Johnston will be aiming for the top step after being on the UGP podium five times.”

Bike Week at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix runs from August 3-8 with further information available from

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