ULSTER GP: Stellar line-up set to do battle

Peter Hickman leads Michael Dunlop and Conor Cummins in the Superbike class at the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix.

Peter Hickman leads Michael Dunlop and Conor Cummins in the Superbike class at the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix.

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MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston doesn’t expect Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson to have things all their own way at Dundrod in August.

The historic international road race was officially launched at Lagan Valley Island in Lisburn on Monday, where guests included Hutchinson, Peter Hickman, Ivan Lintin, Dean Harrison, Maria Costello and Dan Kneen.

Dunlop and Hutchinson were a class above at the TT as they won all five of the feature solo races, but race chief Johnston says there are plenty of potential race winners in the star-studded line-up.

“I think everyone is excited at the thought of another battle between Hutchy and Michael, but the big difference at Dundrod is that it’s a mass start so there are no corrected times, just racing at its absolute closest,” said Johnston.

“I don’t think they’ll have it all their own way however, as there are a number of fast riders on the grid who I’m sure will be ready to challenge.

“Dean Harrison is one, as he really seems to have found his form this season with the Silicone Engineering squad, while Peter Hickman could add to his sensational Superbike win from last year.

“Lee Johnston too, after his performance here last year, will be another hoping to extend his winning run at the Ulster,” he added.

“He’s always popular with the fans and real character both on and off the track.”

Flying Kiwi Bruce Anstey is a formidable force at Dundrod and claimed a Superbike win last year, while William Dunlop is another who performs particularly strongly at the Ulster Grand Prix, where he will be among the favourites on his IC Racing Yamaha R6 and MMB Yamaha R1 machines.

Bike Week takes place from August 8-13 and includes the Dundrod 150 on Thursday, August 11.