UL­STER GP BAT­TLE FOR SUPREMACY

TT heroes Hutchy and Dun­lop set to re­new in­tense ri­valry at fastest road race in the world

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Stephen Dav­i­son MCN ROADS RE­PORTER

Michael Dun­lop and Ian Hutchin­son may have raised the TT lap record to over 133mph on their Hawk and Tyco BMW S1000RR su­per­bikes this year – but the Ul­ster Grand Prix re­mains the world’s fastest road race.

Bruce An­stey’s re­mark­able 133.997mph speed has stood since 2010 when the Kiwi blasted around the 7.4-mile North­ern Ire­land cir­cuit on his last ride for Re­lent­less Suzuki. That year was also the last time Hutchy tasted suc­cess at Dun­drod, tak­ing a tre­ble on the Pad­gett’s Hon­das. Cur­rently rid­ing the crest of a con­fi­dence wave after his TT2016 vic­to­ries, the York­shire­man is cer­tain the UGP lap record will be de­mol­ished this year.

“I think if it’s dry then the lap record is go­ing to go,” the 36-year-old says.

The re­newal of the 14 times TT win­ner’s dog­fight with Dun­lop through the super-fast Dun­drod sweeps is a mouth­wa­ter­ing prospect for the fans, but Hutchy says there will be a lot of other rid­ers join­ing the duo in the bat­tle to be the world’s fastest road racer.

“Lee John­ston had three wins at the Ul­ster last year so he must start as one of

the favourites,” the Bin­g­ley rider says.

“It’s go­ing to be a strong bat­tle be­tween five or six rid­ers. Ob­vi­ously Bruce and Michael will be in there with Dean Har­ri­son, who is hav­ing a great year with three podi­ums at the

‘I think if it’s dry for the Ul­ster then the lap record is go­ing to go’ IAN HUTCHIN­SON

TT. Peter Hick­man had his first big win at last year’s Ul­ster and he is go­ing to be re­ally strong on the Kawasaki ZX-10R he’s been rid­ing all year in BSB. Then you could have oth­ers com­ing into the mix who want to prove them­selves so they can im­prove their chances of get­ting a com­pet­i­tive ride for next year.”

Hutchin­son won’t be in that bracket after his TT tre­ble and he’ll be chas­ing an­other hat-trick or bet­ter with starts in both Su­per­bike races and the Su­per­stock event on the Tyco BMWS as well the two Supersport head to heads.

“We will have a test ses­sion on the su­per­bike before we go to Dun­drod,” Hutchin­son ex­plained. The Bin­g­ley Bul­let has been stay­ing sharp with his out­ings in the Bri­tish Su­per­stock se­ries and a win at Snet­ter­ton has pushed him into con­tention in the ti­tle race.

“I’m in a good po­si­tion in the Bri­tish cham­pi­onship and I’m try­ing to push for that as well so we have a lot to con­cen­trate on,” he said.

Guy Martin fa­mously crashed out of the lead of last year’s Ul­ster GP and is now con­firmed as a no-show in this years event. The 11-time win­ner will be busy in his as­sault on the two wheeled land speed record at Bon­neville Salt Flats in the USA.

‘It’s go­ing to be a bat­tle. Ob­vi­ously Bruce and Michael will be in there’ IAN HUTCHIN­SON

Con­trolled ag­gres­sion from Dun­lop on his way to vic­tory in the Race of Leg­ends race at Ar­moy

Hutchy’s on a roll after his tre­ble at the 2016 TT

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