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Organisers set sights higher as dates confirmed for the 2018 UGP



Speed king: Dean Harrison set a new lap record at Dundrod

Speed king: Dean Harrison set a new lap record at Dundrod

Speed king: Dean Harrison set a new lap record at Dundrod

The Ulster Grand Prix organisers have been quick off the mark to announce that Bike Week 2018 will take place between August 5-11.

Practice for the MCE Ulster Grand Prix will be on Wednesday, August 8 and the morning of August 9, followed by racing that same afternoon.

With memories of this year's record-breaking event still fresh, Clerk of the Course for the promoting Dundrod and District Club, Noel Johnston, confirmed the dates for 2018.

He stated: "August 2017 saw some spectacular racing with Peter Hickman scooping a hat-trick of wins, the outright lap record for the 7.4-mile Dundrod Circuit broken three times, eventually secured by Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider Dean Harrison at 134.614mph, and Bruce Anstey scoring the first road race victory for Padgetts RCV Honda.

"The early indications are that we drew a bigger and even more international audience than ever before. Our challenge is to keep raising the bar year on year.

"There's always room for improvement and that's why we have been working hard behind the scenes to make a few changes to our schedule next year."

August 2018 may seem a long way off as we head into the tail end of the current tarmac racing season, but competitors will be planning ahead with the usual merry-go-round of riders, teams and intrigue of who rides what and for which team set to keep tongues wagging over the months ahead.

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There is still some road racing action left in the 2017 season. Frohburg in Germany and the Scarborough Gold Cup are first up this weekend before the Macau Grand Prix in November.

Meanwhile, Ulsterman and double champion Jonathan Rea followed up his WSB brace at Portimao by topping the test day times at the same venue yesterday, a quarter of a second ahead of Chaz Davies, who was three tenths ahead of another Northern Irishman, Eugene Laverty.

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