People usually talk about saving the best ‘til last. In the road racing world, it’s a case of saving the fastest ‘til last. Next weekend’s Ulster Grand Prix, taglined ‘the world’s fastest road race’ is the last international road race of the year and promises to be an enthralling one if the North West 200 and TT are anything to go by. Four time 2013 TT winner Michael Dunlop, fresh off the back of two wins at the Armoy road races, will be present along with a host of other familiar faces. This includes current lap record holder and eight time winner Bruce Anstey, whose impressive fastest lap of 133.977mph was achieved in 2010 around the 7.41 mile Dundrod circuit.
Conor Cummins during practice at Armoy
Bike Week kicks off on Sunday 11th August with a sponsored walk around the circuit. There will be various other events throughout the week, with practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Racing also takes place on Thursday, with Saturday featuring a six race timetable. Further information about the schedule for the week can be found at the Ulster Grand Prix official website.
So who will be there?
Guy Martin gets interviewed at the North West 200
There will be plenty of popular names contesting this year’s races including eight time winner Guy Martin. Also competing are Lee Johnston, Jamie Hamilton, Maria Costello MBE, Conor Cummins, David Haire and William Dunlop to name but a few.
Aussie Cameron Donald is returning to the race with Wilson Craig Racing having missed the event in 2012 due to other commitments. Also back is 2012’s fastest newcomer Dean Harrison who has been impressing the road racing world in 2013.
What races will I see?
There is an action packed calendar spread over Thursday and Saturday.
Thursday will feature the Dundrod 150 National Races:
Dundrod 150 National Race – 5 laps
Ultralightweight/Lightweight Race – 5 laps
Dundrod 150 Challenge Race – 5 laps
Dundrod 150 Superbike Race – 6 laps
Saturday is dedicated to the Ulster Grand Prix Races:
Superstock Race – 6 laps
Ulster Grand Prix Supersport Race – 6 laps
National Ulster Grand Prix Ultralightweight – 5 laps
National Ulster Grand Prix Lightweight – 5 laps
Ulster Grand Prix Superbike Race – 7 laps
Supersport Race – 6 laps
Superbike Race – 6 laps
For further information, including specifications for each race, follow this link.
Who won last year?
Michael Dunlop’s Supersport bike at Armoy
Michael and William Dunlop, Guy Martin, Bruce Anstey, and Davy Morgan were amongst the race winners at last year’s event and will all no doubt be hoping to retain their victories this year. One notable absentee from this year’s entry list is Ryan Farquhar who won the Supertwins race ahead of his protégé Jamie Hamilton in 2012. Fresh off the back of his Irish Road Race Championship, where he was unbeaten in the Supertwin class, Hamilton could be the one to clinch this year’s Supertwin victory.
And that’s not all…
New Zealander Bruce Anstey will be completing a demo on the Britten V1000, an iconic bike of which there are only ten in existence! This parade lap will take place between races on the Saturday.
Visit the official Ulster Grand Prix Website: http://www.ulstergrandprix.net
Follow them on Twitter: @UlsterGrandPrix
‘Like’ their Facebook page
Download the app (available from iTunes)
Stay tuned to The H Duct for a round-up after the event
Wristbands for the week cost £25 (under 16s go free) and can be purchased, along with programmes, from Lidl branches in NI. These are also available to buy at any of the 13 entry roads during Bike Week.