ULSTER GP BATTLE FOR SUPREMACY
TT heroes Hutchy and Dunlop set to renew intense rivalry at fastest road race in the world
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