The World’s Fastest Road Race, the McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix has launched its 90th year, with the help of road racing stars William Dunlop, Bruce Anstey and Conor Cummins.
Motorcycling legends Phillip McCallen and Brian Reid also attended the launch, which was held in the Long Gallery in Parliament Buildings, Stormont.
Mr Edwin Poots MLA, who co-sponsored the event, said; “As a motorcycling enthusiast, I look forward to the world’s fastest road race every August, but this year’s event is something extra special. There aren’t many events that can claim a 90-year pedigree and I’m delighted to be part of what promises to be an exciting celebration.
“The Ulster Grand Prix is one of only three international road races in the world and as such, presents Northern Ireland with an excellent opportunity to showcase what is has to offer. I believe that the organisers expect in excess of 50,000 visitors over the course of Bike Week, many of whom will travel from Great Britain and further afield across Europe to attend.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to wish the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club every success in this 90th year. I would also like to extend my best wishes to all the competitors for another exciting, and safe, week of racing,” he added.
Councillor Thomas Beckett, Chairman of Lisburn City Council’s Leisure Services Committee, speaking about this milestone event, said: “It is fantastic news for both Lisburn and Northern Ireland that this well renowned road race is celebrating its 90th year. I believe it is important to note that Lisburn Council has been actively involved with this international event on the Dundrod Motorcycle Circuit since 1973. Following the reorganisation of local government at that time it became involved through taking responsibility for facilities and promoting the races.
“In 2001 the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club took over the organisation of the Dundrod races and the Council became a key sponsor alongside Central Government Departments and Agencies.
“The Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week held each August is a popular annual event held at Dundrod in the Lisburn area. The Council maintains a good relationship with the Club and wishes it every success in the race’s 90th year and its hopes that it a successful and safe event,” he concluded.
Fastest man on the circuit Bruce Anstey said; “The Ulster Grand Prix is a real rider’s circuit, I really enjoy it. I’m looking forward to the Ulster this year, if we get a good day one of us could break the record for the fastest lap.
“I’d like to say I could do it but you never know – the Dunlops are getting faster and I’m getting older!”
Local superstar William Dunlop added; “Dundrod is the best circuit in the world. I have high hopes for my performance, I’ve got good pace with Wilson Craig this season. Anyone could win but hopefully it’ll be Dunlops all the way!”
Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston said; “We are very proud to be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Ulster Grand Prix, and would like to take this opportunity to thank all the sponsors and stakeholders who have supported the event to this point, and of course the fans who come to Dundrod every year, come rain or shine.
“We’ve spent a lot of money over recent years making improvements to the circuit, and this year is no exception. As part of our ongoing strategy, we are carrying out extensive drainage works and new hard-standing provision to the spectator node at Leathemstown, as well as adding catering and merchandising, making it sure to be a very popular location to soak up the action.
“We’ve also spent a lot of time over the past 12 months working on a comprehensive event management safety plan, with a host of stakeholders and I tell you this so that you can be confident in the knowledge that safety remains of paramount importance in all that we do.
“Along with our hopes for a safe Bike Week, we also hope for one that is as thrilling as it was last year. Guy Martin, Conor Cummins, Bruce Anstey and both William and Michael Dunlop are among the names already confirmed to take part, all of whom will be hoping to end the international season on a high,” he added
Bike Week 2012 will run between 6 – 11 August in Dundrod, Co. Antrim. The main events are the Topaz Dundrod 150 racing on Thursday 9 August and McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix racing on Saturday 11 August.
Wristbands that allow entry to the course and the paddock all week cost £25. Under 16s are free. You can pre-book wristbands on the Ulster Grand Prix website until the end of June.
For more details on the McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix, visit www.ulstergrandprix.net