Noel Johnston hopeful over Ulster Grand Prix deal for Jessopp

Martin Jessopp on the Riders Ducati at the Macau Grand Prix in 2012
Martin Jessopp on the Riders Ducati at the Macau Grand Prix in 2012

Ulster Grand Prix Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston expects to tie up a deal with Martin Jessopp to bring the English contender to the world’s fastest road race this year.

Yeovil man Jessopp is a already a familiar name at the North West 200 and currently holds the outright speed record on the 8.9-mile north coast circuit, where he was timed at a blistering 208mph on the Riders Ducati in 2012.

The 28-year-old - who is set to make his debut at the Isle of Man TT in June - has never raced before at Dundrod but has made it clear that he is keen to experience the thrill of competing at the Ulster GP in August.

Jessopp will ride BMW machinery under the Riders Motorcycles umbrella this year and will again compete in the MCE British Superbike Championship. He also intends to return to the Macau Grand Prix in China in November.

Johnston told the News Letter: “Martin is high on our shopping list this year and I’m waiting to hear back from him about making his Dundrod debut.

“It would be great to have him at the Ulster Grand Prix and we’ll be working to make it happen.”

Johnston also revealed that James Hillier was another star name high on the Dundrod club’s wish-list for 2014.

Hillier fulfilled his potential with an impressive maiden Isle of Man TT victory in 2013 in the Lightweight class and lapped in excess of 131mph on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki on his way to a close fourth place in the Senior TT, narrowly missing out on the rostrum after Bruce Anstey set a new record for the blue riband race on the final lap.

“We’d be very hopeful that James Hillier will be at the event this year,” said Johnston. “He had other plans last year but he is a rider who is one of our big priorities and we’d love to see him back at Dundrod.

“James was at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2008 but unfortunately the event was washed out and he never had the chance to race.”

The 2014 Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix will take place this year from August 11-16.

Meanwhile, two of road racing’s elder statesmen have been honoured by the Auto 66 Racing Club - organisers of the Scarborough meetings at Oliver’s Mount in North Yorkshire.

Ian Lougher and Chris Palmer - who both retired from the sport in 2013 - have had a part of the 2.43-mile circuit named after them, with the Memorial section - previously known as ‘Memorial In’ and ‘Memorial Out’ - now renamed as Lougher’s and Palmer’s respectively.

Northern Ireland-based Welshman Lougher achieved an incredible 132 race victories at Scarborough between 1989 and 2013, while Palmer has won 97 times at the ‘Mount’, ending on a high with a 125cc double last September at the Gold Cup meeting.