Ulster Grand Prix
The Ulster Grand Prix is a motorcycle race that takes place on the 7.3-mile Dundrod Circuit made up entirely of closed-off public roads near Belfast, Northern Ireland. The first races took place in 1922 and in 1935 and 1948 the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme gave it the title Grand Prix d'Europe. The Ulster Grand Prix was included as one of the races in the inaugural 1949 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season (now MotoGP), a place it held until 1971. It also counted for the Formula TT Championship between 1979 and 1990. According to the race organisers, it is the fastest road race in the world.
|Most wins (rider)||Joey Dunlop (24)|
Thomas Moles, motorcycle enthusiast and Member of Parliament, helped to push through parliament the first Road Races Act, which made it legal for the Clady Course to be closed for the first Ulster Grand Prix on 14 October 1922. That first race had 75 entries in four classes (250cc, 350cc, 600cc and over 600cc). The race has been held on three different circuits. The 20.5-mile Old Clady circuit was used from 1922 until 1939 and included a notoriously bumpy 7-mile straight. It also ran across part of the grass runway at RAF Aldergrove and for the first two years of its existence the pits were on the Seven Mile Straight, by Loanends Primary School.
In 1926 the 500cc race was won by Graham Walker on a Sunbeam. He also won the 1928 Senior race on a Rudge. In the 1936 Lightweight (250cc) event, Ginger Wood and Bob Foster, both on New Imperials, crossed the line so close, that after over 200 miles of racing, it took the judges an hour to decide that Wood was the winner by one-fifth of a second. Foster was, however, adjudged to have achieved the fastest lap. The 1939 Grand Prix was almost called off, but went ahead in spite of an entry of only 60 riders.
After World War II the new Clady circuit was used that, due to road improvements, was now 16.5 miles in length and in use between 1947 and 1952.
In 1953 the race was moved to the 7.401-mile Dundrod Circuit where it is still held. The 1971 event was won by Australian Jack Findlay in what was the Ulster Grand Prix's last year as part of the FIM Grand Prix international motorcycle racing calendar. Findlay's victory on a Suzuki was also notable for marking the first 500cc class win for a motorcycle powered by a two stroke engine. The event was cancelled in 1972 because of the political situation in Northern Ireland, but it was held in 2001 during the Foot-and-mouth crisis, even though the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT were cancelled that year.
The 2007 Grand Prix attracted an entry of 162 riders, including 38 new riders, and took place on 18 August 2007, sponsored by The Belfast Telegraph.
Bruce Anstey won the Superbike race at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2010, setting a new lap record of 133.977 mph, making him the fastest rider on the fastest motorcycle racing circuit in the world.
Joey Dunlop won 24 Ulster Grand Prix races during his career, with Phillip McCallen winning 14 races, Peter Hickman with 13 wins, Bruce Anstey 12 and Brian Reid 9 wins. Some of the famous riders include: Guy Martin (11 wins) Stanley Woods (7 wins), Jimmie Guthrie, Jimmie Simpson, Artie Bell, Les Graham, Freddie Frith (3 wins), Geoff Duke (3 wins), John Surtees (6 wins), Ray Amm, Carlo Ubbiali (5 wins), Bill Lomas (3 wins), Mike Hailwood (7 wins), Giacomo Agostini (7 wins), Phil Read (3 wins), Bill Ivy (3 wins), Bob McIntyre, Gary Hocking (3 wins), Tom Herron (5 wins), Ron Haslam (5 wins), Jon Ekerold, and more recently Mick Grant, Wayne Gardner, Steve Hislop, Robert Dunlop (9 wins).
FIM World Championship rounds
A pink background indicates a round that was not part of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing championship.
- "The World's Fastest Road Race" Ulster Grand Prix Official Website 2010. Retrieved August 2010
- Eddie McIlwaine (17 August 2008). "10 things you didn't know about the big event". The Belfast Telegraph. p. 15.
- Jack Findlay obituary – The Telegraph
- "MotoGP Milestones". crash.net. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- Ulster Grand Prix 2001 – Preview (retrieved 10 September 2006)
- Victoria O'Hara (17 August 2008). "Revved up for race". The Belfast Telegraph. p. 15.
- Pinchin, Gary (2010) "Bruce Anstey: Road racing’s reclusive hero", Motorcycle News, 18 August 2010. Retrieved 28 August 2010
- "Ulster Grand Prix: Anstey celebrates being fastest man on planet", The Belfast Telegraph, 17 August 2010. Retrieved 28 August 2010
- "Les Championnats du Monde de Courses sur Route – L'année 1971" [World Championship Road Racing – 1971]. Racing Memory (in French). Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- "Les Championnats du Monde de Courses sur Route – L'année 1954" [World Championship Road Racing – 1954]. Racing Memory (in French). Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- "Les Championnats du Monde de Courses sur Route – L'année 1951" [World Championship Road Racing – 1951]. Racing Memory (in French). Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011.