It was announced over the weekend that the Ulster GP, which hasn’t happened since 2019, might have been given a new lease of life. The event was knocked on the head after a few years of bad weather, low revenue and spiralling debts. But there’s a new team in town, and they’ve got a plan.
Their plan is an ambitious one, but if it works, it can only spell good things for road racing. Particularly road racing in Ireland.
The ‘Revival Club’, headed up by Mervyn White, who many people will know as the bloke that’s been running the North West 200 for years, and Philip McCallen, TT, NW200 and Ulster GP winner will be spearheading the effort to revive the Ulster GP.
The Dundrod Motorcycle Club had previously run up a debt of £300,000, but the Revival Club will be hoping to run the Ulster GP races at a profit, and sustainably. To help them get off the ground, rumour has it they’re looking to secure a £2million leg-up from the Irish government.
There’s no reason why they can’t run the event profitably and sustainably. The Ulster GP has been running for years, and it’s only been in the last handful of years that the annual event in the hills a few miles west of Belfast has run into trouble. And a lot of that is due to bad luck.
The Ulster GP is one of the fastest road races in the world, in fact for years it constantly swapped that particular title with the Isle of Man TT. And despite it not running since 2019, it’s still the fastest mass-start road race in the world. That’s why it’s so bloody exciting to watch, as well as to compete in. A lap might only be 7.4 miles long, but it’s one of the most exciting laps you’ll ever do. And you get to do six of them in a superbike race. Six goes down the 200mph straight (on a good day). Six attempts at getting through Jordan’s Cross flat out. Six laps of instance racing.
So I’m really, really hoping they manage to sort something out. Because I’ve missed my annual trip over to Belfast. If the Ulster GP does happen in 2022, I’ll most certainly be dusting off the old ZX-10R and heading across the water. In fact, I might even fire the ZXR750 up, that’s been sat in my shed dormant for far too long. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.