Ulster Grand Prix: Future of international road race 'in real and imminent danger'

The future of road racing over the Dundrod circuit is unclear
The future of racing over the 7.4-mile Dundrod public roads circuit is unclear

The future of the Ulster Grand Prix international road race is in jeopardy because of serious financial problems.

The Dundrod and District Club explained in a statement that there is a "real and imminent danger" of the event disappearing from the racing calendar.

The club say a severe weather warning issued for Saturday race day in August led to a much reduced crowd and income.

An urgent review is being carried out to assess the viability of running the race meeting in 2020.

Professional advice has been sought by the club with respect to the future running of the event, together with the options available for dealing with the existing financial liabilities.

"Race organisers will consider the outcome of this review and a decision will be taken in the coming weeks as to the future of the club and the Ulster Grand Prix," read a statement from the club.

'A major financial crisis'

The club say this year's feature race day on 10 August "attracted perhaps the smallest crowd the event has ever witnessed", resulting in "a huge loss of income, compounded by existing liabilities, and a major financial crisis".

"Over the past few months the Club has been trying to manage this difficult situation. A critical juncture has now been reached and a decision must be made as to whether or not the race will take place in 2020."

The Ulster Grand Prix first took place in 1922 and enjoyed world championship grand prix status from 1949 to 1971.

Peter Hickman
Peter Hickman re-established the Ulster Grand Prix as 'The World's Fastest Road Race' in 2019

"The Ulster Grand Prix celebrated its 97th birthday in 2019." Robert Graham, Chairman of the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club, said.

"The race organisers have met with local MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, alongside representatives of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council as we continue to seek a solution to the financial problems that would enable Northern Ireland's most prestigious and historic motorcycle race to continue towards its 100th anniversary."

"It is clear though, that in the absence of significant financial support, the Ulster Grand Prix is in real and imminent danger of disappearing from the road racing calendar, an outcome that would be a major blow for motorcycle sport in Northern Ireland."

The 2019 Ulster Grand Prix race week saw the long-standing event reclaim its title as the "World's Fastest Road Race" as Peter Hickman set a new lap record speed of 136.415mph.

The Burton-on-Trent rider went on to complete a record seven-timer over the course of the two race days.

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