Ulster Grand Prix unveils new title sponsor for 2019 showpiece at Dundrod

Top road racer Lee Johnston with Ulster Grand Prix Clerk of the Course, Noel Johnston, and William McCausland, Managing Director, fonaCAB.
Top road racer Lee Johnston with Ulster Grand Prix Clerk of the Course, Noel Johnston, and William McCausland, Managing Director, fonaCAB.

Northern Ireland firm fonaCAB has been confirmed as the new title sponsor for the 2019 Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod.

Top international road racer and newly crowned Isle of Man TT winner Lee Johnston flew into Northern Ireland for the announcement, which was made official on Tuesday evening.

Clerk of the Course, Noel Johnston, said the deal was a ‘big boost’ for the famous road race, which takes place this year from August 5-10.

“We are delighted to have fonaCAB on board as title sponsors for Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week in 2019,” said Johnston.

“It has provided a big boost just as we are laying our final plans for all the action to begin. William McCausland (Managing Director, fonaCAB) is a road racing fan and his enthusiasm for the sport is obvious and infectious.

“As an international road race meeting that attracts global attention, the ‘Ulster’ will provide a major platform to showcase the fonaCAB brand.”

fonaCAB MD, William McCausland, has welcomed the chance to become involved with the legendary race, which he has enjoyed as a spectator for many years.

“As a lifelong road racing fan and veteran of many visits to Bike Week over the years, I am delighted we will be the title sponsors of the 2019 fonaCAB Ulster Grand Prix,” he said.

“Having sat at Wheeler’s Corner and Quarry Bends enjoying the racing over many years, I know first-hand of the quality of both the course and the competitors and of what’s involved in putting together such a prestigious event, one which we are proud to put our name to.”

Fermanagh racer Johnston, who is one of fonaCAB’s supported riders in 2019, has been in terrific form this season after clinching Supersport victories at the North West 200 and TT.

After a mixed year in 2018 with the Honda Racing team, Johnston set up his own outfit this year under the Ashcourt Racing banner, retaining loyal sponsors including East Coast Construction and Burdens.

He made a dream start to the international meetings with victory in the Thursday evening Supersport race at the North West in May and followed up with his debut win at the TT on his Yamaha R6.

A former winner at Dundrod, where he bagged a treble in 2015, Johnston will arrive at the Ulster GP in August as a hot favourite for more silverware.

“It has been a good year so far,” Johnston said.

“People say I have turned a corner but I haven’t been riding any harder. It is just all the little two per-cents that are coming together and making the difference.”

The 30-year-old has enjoyed a welcome return to winning ways after a difficult few seasons, with Johnston hampered by injury.

“It took time to get over those and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind,” he said. “At times I didn’t really feel like riding at all.

“I never really got on with the (Honda) Superbike last year. Organising my own team means I am involved in every little thing. That is a great motivator and has given me a new interest in racing.”

The Maguiresbridge man, who now bases himself in Hull, has also made a successful return to the British Supersport Championship this year and Johnston is determined to win a race before the end of the season.

“I did the early rounds and I’m going to Knockhill this weekend,” he said.

“I really want to win a British Supersport race this year. I’ve beaten Jack (Kennedy) and Alastair (Seeley) before and I want to do it again.

“I will get a run out on my Superbike before the ‘Ulster’ but the main focus must be on the Supersport class.

“I’ve only two Supersport wins to my name at the internationals but loads of podium finishes so it’s time I got my finger out and really made it count.”

Johnston will compete in the Superbike and Superstock classes on BMW S1000RR machinery and a Yamaha YZR-R6 for the Supersport races. He will also contest the Supertwin class on a KMR Kawasaki for Ryan Farquhar after finishing on the podium in the third place in the Lightweight TT earlier this month.