Organisers announce revised schedule for 2016 Ulster Grand Prix

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 6/8/2015: Ian Hutchinson (PBM Kawasaki) leads the pack off the line in the Dundrod 150 Superbike race at the Ulster Grand Prix today.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 6/8/2015: Ian Hutchinson (PBM Kawasaki) leads the pack off the line in the Dundrod 150 Superbike race at the Ulster Grand Prix today. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

The Dundrod & District Motorcycle Club has announced a revised schedule for Bike Week at the 2016 Ulster Grand Prix, which will take place from the 8th – 13th August.

The organisers of the World’s Fastest Road Race have confirmed that roads will now close for two extra hours on Wednesday 10th August, and an extra 30 minutes on Thursday 11th August.

The extra time means that practice sessions for all classes will now run on the Wednesday, while there will be two less practice sessions on Thursday to better accommodate the full five race programme in the Dundrod 150.

Noel Johnston, Clerk of the Course at the Ulster Grand Prix said: “ By increasing the amount of practice time on the Wednesday we’ve been able to allow more time for the Dundrod 150 races on the Thursday, without cutting into anyone’s track time, and that’s good news for all parties.

“We’ve also decided to move the riders briefings forward from Wednesday to Tuesday, with newcomers in the morning and all other competitors in the evening, which will allow everyone more time to familiarise themselves with the circuit.

“We’re continually working with our stakeholders such as Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Tourism NI and Transport NI to improve the experience for both fans and competitors at Dundrod and we’re confident that this altered schedule will make a significant difference.

Alongside the changes to the schedule, the Dundrod & District Motorcycle Club has also confirmed that the Joey Dunlop Grandstand will be extended for Bike Week 2016, with an extra 160 seats available for fans.

Noel added: “There is always a high demand for the Joey Dunlop Grandstand so it’s great that we’ve been able to increase its capacity.

“It has a fantastic view of the last corner, grid and right down the start-finish straight, not to mention the big screen in the paddock as well, so it’s no surprise that it’s a favourite for spectators.

“It has a fantastic atmosphere and it’s packed with fans of all ages, from the dedicated supporters who have been coming to Dundrod for many years to the first time spectators. They will certainly all be in for a treat this year.”

Tickets for Bike Week 2016 at the Ulster Grand Prix are available now from www.ticketmaster.co.uk or they can also be purchased from road ends on race days. Grandstand tickets will be released in the coming weeks. For more information visit www.ulstergrandprix.net or you can also follow @UlsterGrandPrix on Twitter and on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Ryan Farquhar reluctantly turned down the opportunity to ride the exotic Suter MMX 500 two-stroke at this year’s Isle of Man TT.

Ulster’s most successful ever Irish National road racer was under consideration by the Swiss manufacturer to race the rare machine in the Superbike and Senior events around the legendary Mountain Course in June, but was unable to commit this year as he pursued another option, which hesays was ultimately more ‘beneficial’.

The Suter MMX is based on the wild two-stroke 500cc Grand Prix machines of the late eighties and nineties, producing a claimed 195bhp and weighing only 127kg, with a top speed estimated at 193mph.

“Jeremy [McWilliams] knows Eskil Suter [CEO of Suter Racing] really well from his Grand Prix days and both of them had spoken about the possibility of me riding the bike,” Farquhar said.

“My name was put forward as one of the riders and while I would love a ride on something like that, the offer sort of came at a bad time because there were a few other things in the pipeline. Hopefully sometime in the future I will get the opportunity to ride the bike