The Ulster Grand Prix is a motorcycle road race that takes place on the Dundrod Circuit 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, a place it held until 1971. It also counted for the Formula TT Championship between 1979 and 1990. According to the race organizers, it is the fastest road race in the world. Racing was very much curtailed during the war years but in 1947 racing at the Ulster Grand Prix was once again underway, this time on a new 16.5 mile Clady Circuit. Then in 1949 a new World Championship was established and the Ulster Grand Prix was to be chosen as a round of this Championship. In 1953 the race was moved to the 7.401 mile Dundrod Circuit where it is still held. 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 twenty-four Ulster Grand Prix races during his career. If you don’t know of Joey you can go for a ride with him here, Isle of Man 2012 Many racers through the years would comment on his habits before race day, where Joey would be up til 4am in the garage working, smoking and drinking, come out to the starting line minutes before the race looking worn torn and the man would beat us all!
This type of road racing is very challenging and quite similar to The Isle of Man. Guy Martin has commented on this,”the reason I do it is because if you get it wrong, It’ll kill you. If you think it’s too dangerous, then go home and cut your grass and leave us to it”. Guy Martin has won the UGP 11 times. To this day Joey Dunlop has the most wins here, 2nd is Ian Lougher who is a British motorcycle racer famous for 9 motorcycle victories in the North West 200, 10 wins at the Isle of Man TT Races and 42 wins at the Southern 100 Races in his career.