A record number of competitors, are set to compete at the 2016 MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix, as 173 riders take to the iconic and hugely popular Dundrod roads venue.
Out of the 173 entrants, 54 of them are newcomers, a new record amount of debutants to the world’s fastest road race.
Newcomers to watch include TT privateers champion Dan Hegarty, who recently secured a tremendous Bob Smith Spring Cup victory, at the weekend at Oliver’s Mount.
The entry for the superbike races, is full of world class quality. Many are expecting Michael Dunlop (Hawk Racing BMW) and Ian Hutchinson (Tyco BMW) to be the ones to beat.
Photo by Rod Neill
But don’t discount Peter Hickman (JG Speedfit Kawasaki), Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Racing), Bruce Anstey on the RC213V-S Honda for Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles, from all sealing a race win or two.
Add in Lee Johnston, William Dunlop, Conor Cummins, David Johnson, Mar Train Racing’s Dan Kneen, Ivan Lintin, Irish road race superbike champion Derek Sheils and multiple others, your guaranteed thrilling Ulster GP action.
Ulster Grand Prix, Clerk of the Course, Noel Johnston, is very pleased with the overall entry for competition at Dundrod, he said:
“I think it goes without saying that I’m very pleased with the final entry list and think it says a lot about the popularity of the event that the total number of entries are growing year on year, as is the number of newcomers coming to Dundrod.
The fact that they come from so many different countries is good news for Tourism Northern Ireland too, as we are one of their flagship events.
The two guys that everyone has been talking about; Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson will both be there gunning for the top step of the podium, as well other major talents including Dean Harrison, Ivan Lintin, Lee Johnston, William Dunlop, Peter Hickman, Bruce Anstey, Dan Kneen, Conor Cummins and Christian Elkin.
I’m also looking forward to seeing one of the higher profile newcomer’s first outing at the Ulster – Gary Dunlop. His Dad loved Dundrod and it’s going to be something special to see him there.
I’ve never let anyone since Joey ride as number 3, but who better to use it than Gary and I think it’ll be pretty special to see it on the grid after all these years.
We’ve just got confirmation that Guy Martin can’t come this year due to a timing clash with his land speed record attempt in America which is a shame but in no way will there be any less of a spectacle for the fans.
Alongside the big names and bright new talents, we’ve also confirmed in the last few weeks a new superpole session, which will see the top 10 fastest qualifiers in superbike practice take to the circuit individually on a timed lap to decide their final position on the grid.
It will be a real spectacle for the fans, who will also get to see Bruce Anstey on his world famous Moto GP bike. It’ll be the first time that Bruce rides the Honda RC213V-S at full fitness after his off at the TT.
No matter what way you look at it, the scene has been set for a spectacular finale to the international road racing season.”
Words by Stevie Rial