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Eazi Grip

Ulster Grand Prix returns to road race calendar in 2022

The Ulster Grand Prix is to return to the road racing calendar in 2022 after suffering major financial problems and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The race will take place over the Dundrod circuit from 16-20 August.

The future of the event had been left in serious doubt when it was revealed that the host Dundrod Club had been issued with a winding up order in 2020.

The club had racked up debts of around £300,000 and entered into a company voluntary arrangement with creditors.

The 2020 event looked unlikely to happen because of the crippling debts which left the meeting without an organising committee but ultimately the race was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2021 race suffered a similar fate.

The race will now be resurrected by the Revival Racing Motorcycle Club and will celebrate its centenary this year.

“We understand the unique appeal of the Ulster Grand Prix to riders and fans alike, and we are delighted to bring racing back to this famous track,” read a statement from the new organising club.

“It’s been a very uncertain time for the sport because of coronavirus and we can’t wait to hear bikes roaring down the flying kilo again this summer.

“We are indebted to the volunteers at the Ulster Grand Prix for their collaboration and continuing hard work to stage this famous race in its centenary year.

“More details of the week-long race week programme will be announced soon.”

Lee Johnston, a hat-trick winner at the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix, was one of a number of riders who were left out of pocket after the 2019 running of the meeting, but the Fermanagh native is happy that the race is being revived and is back on the calendar for 2022.

“I never shy away from the fact that Dundrod is my favourite track to race on and I’m definitely excited at the prospect of getting back,” said Johnston.

“For the fans and for the sport it’s good as, along with the Isle of Man TT and the North West 200, it is one of the iconic road races with its own special place in the calendar.

“One hundred years is a significant milestone for any major sporting event and to have the North West back but not ‘the Ulster’ would have felt a little bit strange.

“The race is held in massive regard, not just in our country but all over the world. It is the most natural flowing circuit – I love the track and the layout and it is more laid back, more of an old style road race.

“There is obviously however a little bit of bitterness with the way things were left before financially and the fact we were all owed.

“It’s a hard one – there’s the love of the sport and wanting to ride my bike again, then there’s the financial side of things.

“At the end of the day this is my job and although I’m in a fortunate position to be able to make a living from riding a motorbike if you go and race and don’t get paid for it then that’s not fair.

“I would like a few questions answered – to sit down and know what’s going on and what did go on, plus the structure of what it will be like going forward and what they can guarantee us.”

The news that the UGP is to return comes a day after it was confirmed that the North West 200 international road race will also be staged this year.

The UGP regained the title of ‘The World’s Fastest Road Race’ from the Isle of Man TT in 2019 when Peter Hickman lapped at an average speed of 136.415mph on his way to winning the opening Superbike race.

Posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022 in News

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