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Ulster Grand Prix remains in 'crisis' as 2020 event in major doubt

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Peter Hickman (Smith's BMW) leads Davey Todd (Wepol Penz13.com BMW) during the 2019 Ulster Grand Prix

Peter Hickman (Smith's BMW) leads Davey Todd (Wepol Penz13.com BMW) during the 2019 Ulster Grand Prix

Peter Hickman (Smith's BMW) leads Davey Todd (Wepol Penz13.com BMW) during the 2019 Ulster Grand Prix

The Ulster Grand Prix remains in 'crisis', organisers have admitted, with the 2020 event in major doubt.

The Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club initially revealed in November that the future of the UGP was 'in real and imminent danger'.

The fight to ensure the historic event reaches its centenary in 2022 continues but, without a much-needed financial injection, preparations for the 2020 races cannot even begin.

Last year, Peter Hickman raced around the famous Dundrod circuit in 136.415mph, which saw the event regain its status as the 'World's Fastest Road Race' and, while more fantastic racing was to follow, a severe weather warning forecast for Saturday's main race day saw most fans decide to remain at home, resulting in perhaps the smallest crowd the Ulster Grand Prix has ever witnessed.

The huge loss of income, compounded by existing liabilities, has resulted in a major financial shortfall, believed to be in the region of £300k.

The organisers say they have met with a number of public representatives, from local councillors to Westminster MPs and the recently restored NI Assembly but have yet to secure funding.

"Whilst there has been a sympathetic hearing to the UGP’s plight, the crisis situation remains," said a statement from the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club. "Discussions continue but, so far, no financial assistance has been made available as we move into the period when preparation for the 2020 event should have been well underway.

"The difficulties facing the Ulster GP and other road races in Northern Ireland have made headlines in recent weeks. If the sport is to survive and flourish it will require similar financial support from government that other sports receive.

"Road racing is a part of Northern Ireland’s sporting culture and brings major financial benefits to the Province and local communities. Only a small fraction of the sums provided to many other major sporting events would make an enormous difference to events like the Ulster Grand Prix.

"More discussions are planned with government during the weeks ahead as the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club continues to pursue a solution that will ensure the Ulster Grand Prix reaches its centenary in 2022."

Belfast Telegraph