The inevitable announcement that the 2020 Ulster Grand Prix has been called off came in a very brief statement yesterday; a real body blow for the sport.
It read: "It is with deep regret the organisers of the Ulster Grand Prix, Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club, must announce the race will not take place in 2020. Despite numerous meetings in recent months with councillors, MLAs, Ministers and other interested parties, we have been unable to find the necessary financial support to run the meeting this year. The unprecedented crisis surrounding the Coronavirus epidemic has made finding a solution at this stage impossible."
It was revealed late last year that, due to poor weather and a dismal crowd in 2019, the historic event was in jeopardy as the organisers were left struggling with a huge black hole of over a quarter of a million pounds.
Since then, the Dundrod Club unsuccessfully chased financial support from various organisations.
First ran in 1922, the Ulster has at times lurched from one cash crisis to another from the initial years on the Clady Circuit before the switch to Dundrod in 1953, but always overcame those difficulties. Now it would seem a bridge too far.
Most recently, the circuit regained its place as the fastest in the world when Peter Hickman lapped the 7.4mile circuit at 136.415mph as he raced to an unprecedented seven wins from seven starts at last year's meeting.
The Ulster has been graced the greats of motorcycling including Stanley Woods, Geoff Duke, John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, our own Ralph Bryans, Tommy Robb, Ray McCullough, Tom Herron, Dick Creith and the Dunlops to name but a few.
Will the event return to the calendar in the future?
It will be very tough unless the magic money tree that Government turns to can be accessed and, with the current crisis the country faces and the unimaginable financial rescue plans involved, the Ulster Grand Prix will unfortunately be some way down the pecking order.
Many have grown up with the UGP as part and parcel of the Irish road race scene and it seems a shame that this traditional jewel in the crown of road racing may well be lost forever.