The organisers of the Ulster Grand Prix hope to resurrect the event in 2022, which marks the centenary year of the famous road race at Dundrod.
One of road racing’s ‘big three’ along with the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT, the Ulster GP was cancelled in 2020 due to financial difficulties — with the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club in debt to the tune of £300,000 — and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Inclement weather conditions on the main Saturday race day in 2019 resulted in a poor turnout, compounding the club’s problems.
In April last year, a winding up order was issued against the Dundrod club, but yesterday it was confirmed that the club had entered into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with its creditors – an agreement that allows some of the debts owed to be paid back over a fixed period of time.
A statement said that while the event will not take place this year, “significant progress” had been made and the organisers are working towards reviving the road race next year.
“The financial problems, plus the effects of coronavirus, meant the race did not take place in 2020 and the event will not happen during this year either,” said the statement. “Despite these setbacks, the Dundrod club remains committed to resurrecting the event. Conversations have already taken place with public and commercial groups who share a similar aim and more discussions are planned.
“This work will continue throughout the coming months in the hope of celebrating the centenary of the world’s fastest road race with a return to action at Dundrod in 2022.”
Englishman Peter Hickman tore up the record books at the Ulster GP in 2019, winning seven races over two days to surpass Phillip McCallen’s 1996 record of five victories at a single meeting.
He also re-established the 7.4-mile Dundrod course as the fastest road race in the world, setting the first 136mph lap with a blistering benchmark of 136.415mph on his way to victory on the Smiths Racing BMW in the Thursday Superbike race.
Hickman, though, was one of many riders left out of pocket as a result of the Dundrod club’s financial woes in 2019. And the British Superbike contender says whether or not he returns to the event in the future will be dependent on how much of the outstanding prize money he receives.
“It would be great if the Ulster does run again and of course I’d be interested in coming, but that depends on what the end result is of how much we actually get from what we’re owed,” Hickman said. “Whatever the deficit is of what we’re all owed, it needs to be covered, plus whatever they can help us with to get there for 2022 as well.”