Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix chief Noel Johnston believes the glittering array of top names secured for the world’s fastest road race this month is testament to the strength and popularity of the sport.
Along with road racing regulars in the mould of Michael Dunlop, Guy Martin, William Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson, Gary Johnson and Bruce Anstey, the line-up also includes leading British championship riders Peter Hickman and Glenn Irwin plus former Grand Prix challenger Danny Webb.
Clerk of the Course Johnston, speaking at Thursday night’s launch of the 2014 Ulster GP hosted by Lisburn City Council at Lagan Valley Island, said: “We are now less than two weeks away from Bike Week and the excitement is building as we make our final preparations to the circuit and confirm more additions to our world-class line up.
“I’m proud to say we will have 15 countries represented on the grid, with over 30 newcomers and five female riders.
“I’m delighted to see Ian Hutchinson and Keith Amor back at Dundrod this year, and they will join UGP heroes including Michael and William Dunlop, Guy Martin, Bruce Anstey, Conor Cummins, Gary Johnson and Dean Harrison on the grid in a couple of weeks’ time.
“It’s great to see riders like Glenn Irwin and Danny Webb who traditionally only compete on short circuits trying their hand at road racing, and I think this year’s line-up shows how strong the sport is today,” he added.
“To see riders with not only British but world championship experience lining up at Dundrod will be a real treat for spectators.”
Circuit newcomer and Gearlink Kawasaki rider Irwin plus Scotsman Amor, Milwaukee Yamaha’s Hutchinson, Shaun Anderson and Gareth Keys were among those riders in attendance at the launch.
Lisburn Mayor, Councillor Andrew Ewing, will present a trophy in memory of Bruce Moulds – who was sadly killed at the Walderstown road races last July – to the winner of the Lightweight race.
“As the Mayor of Lisburn and an avid motorcyclist I am looking forward to attending the races and standing on the grid to start a race,” he said.
“This year I am honoured to be presenting a trophy to the winner of the Lightweight race in memory of the late Bruce Moulds who tragically lost his life last year. I wish every competing rider a very safe race.
“I would like to thank the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club for its continued promotion of this important road race; and I hope that the weather is on our side throughout the course of Bike Week,” added Councillor Ewing.
“In recent months the club members have been working hard to prepare the circuit and pits area for both riders and visitors.”
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board has confirmed a three-year funding package for the event until 2016 to enable the further development of the Ulster Grand Prix.
Bike Week takes place from August 11-16 and admission wristbands granting admission to the circuit all week cost £25, with U16s free. Admission for Wednesday and Thursday only is £15.
Practice for the Dundrod 150 and Ulster Grand Prix takes place on Wednesday, August 13 with roads closed from 12pm.
The Dundrod 150 and final Ulster GP qualifying takes place on Thursday, August 14 (roads close at 9.30am) with roads also closing at 9.30am on Saturday, August 16 for the main race programme.