Local road racing fans descended on the Ramada Plaza Hotel on Monday 4 July to hear from a star-studded line up that will take their place on the grid at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix next month.
With just over a month to go until Bike Week 2016, fans rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names and brightest talents in the sport, getting fascinating insights into their preparations for the final battle for silverware in the international road racing calendar.
The BBC’s Liam Beckett led a lively discussion with racers Ian Hutchinson, Dan Kneen, Peter Hickman, William Dunlop, Dean Harrison, Gary Dunlop, Maria Costello MBE, Paul Jordan and Ivan Lintin who all outlined their hopes for Dundrod this August. Noel Johnston, Clerk of the Course at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix said: “We were very pleased with the turnout at our meet the riders event, which is not surprising given the passion the fans have for our event.
“I am delighted to be able to confirm such a great stable of road racers for the event next month, and that so many of them were able to join us to celebrate the launch and interact with the fans.
“The big topic of conversation was the superpole session we’re introducing. Hutchy in particular said how great it was to see a superpole come into road racing, and that it is going to make for a real spectacle.
“I think they’re all excited about trying something new and seeing what they can do on a flying lap with a clear circuit, but I think there are a few nerves in there too as it’s not something many of them will have done before.
“The other big talking point was our lap record, I think everyone is wondering if it’ll be beaten this year.
“The bikes are faster than ever and the top guys are pushing harder than I’ve ever seen, but the main thing for me is that everyone gets home safe.
“I’d actually prefer them to reach the top step of the podium at the lowest speed possible.”
The schedule of races is as follows:
Thursday 11 August: Plant Lubrication (NI) Dundrod 150; Plant Lubrication Dundrod 150 National; Moira Bakery Dundrod 150 Ultralightweight/Lightweight; SOS Restoration Dundrod 150 Supertwins; DGH Services Dundrod 150 Challenge; Topaz Airport Road Service Station Dundrod 150 Superbike.
Saturday 13 August: MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix
Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Superstock
Whitemountain Centra Service Station Supersport
Ulster Speed Promotions Ultralightweight/Lightweight
James Jamieson Construction / McKinstry Skip Hire Superbike
Barron Transport Supersport
Maxwell Freight Services Supertwins
Around A Pound Superbike.