Road racing star Peter Hickman says he would be “devastated” if the cash-strapped Ulster Grand Prix does not go ahead in 2020.
On Thursday, it was revealed that the historic Northern Ireland motorcycle race is facing a financial crisis, with the organising Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club warning there is a “real and imminent danger” the event could disappear from the road racing calendar.
Poor crowd numbers in August – blamed on an adverse weather forecast – were compounded by the club’s already significant financial liabilities.
The organisers have met with Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP and members of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council for urgent talks in an effort to rescue the prestigious race, which is in debt of more than £250,000.
English racer Hickman made history at Dundrod this year when he won seven races from seven starts.
The 32-year-old also matched Ulsterman Phillip McCallen’s 1996 record of five wins in a day and set a new world-record road racing lap in excess of 136mph.
Dundrod is often cited as the riders’ favourite course and Hickman admits it would be a major blow for the sport if the Ulster Grand Prix is cancelled next season.
“It is a great event that has been unlucky with the weather recently but all the races were actually run on Saturday despite the forecast,” Hickman said.
“I would be devastated not to have the chance to ride the Dundrod circuit again.
“I really hope the organisers can get things sorted for 2020. An event of the stature of the Ulster Grand Prix should not be allowed to disappear.”