ULSTER GRAND PRIX STATEMENT
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ULSTER GRAND PRIX STATEMENT
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The 2019 Ulster Grand Prix race week began in a blaze of glory as Peter Hickman set a new lap record speed of 136.415mph that brought the ‘World’s Fastest Road Race’ title back to the Dundrod circuit.

More fantastic racing was to follow but a severe weather warning forecast for Saturday’s main race day saw most fans decide to remain at home, resulting in perhaps the smallest crowd the event has ever witnessed. The huge loss of income, compounded by existing liabilities, has resulted in a major financial crisis for the organisers of the Ulster Grand Prix, the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club.

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.

Professional advice has been sought and an urgent review is being carried out in respect of the viability of the event for 2020, 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.

“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.”



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A severe weather warning saw road race fans stay away from Saturday’s main race day at the 2019 Ulster Grand Prix,
resulting in major financial loss for the organising Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON


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07-11-2019, 01:00 PM
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Malcolm Online
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RE: ULSTER GRAND PRIX STATEMENT
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Out in front: Peter Hickman wowed at last year’s Ulster Grand Prix with a 136.415mph lap
that regained the event the title of ‘World’s Fastest Road Race’


'Real and imminent danger': Cash-hit Ulster Grand Prix in fight for future

The future of the Ulster Grand Prix is up in the air after organisers announced that the event is struggling for financial support to remain part of the annual road racing calendar.

Last year, Peter Hickman raced around the famous Dundrod circuit in 136.415mph, which saw the event regain its status as the 'World's Fastest Road Race' and, while more fantastic racing was to follow, a severe weather warning forecast for Saturday's main race day saw most fans decide to remain at home, resulting in perhaps the smallest crowd the Ulster Grand Prix has ever witnessed.

The huge loss of income, compounded by existing liabilities, has resulted in a major financial crisis for the organisers of the event, the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club.

Professional advice has been sought and an urgent review is being carried out in respect of the viability of the event for 2020, 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.

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

"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 Ulster Grand Prix - which first ran on October 14, 1922 around the 20-mile Clady Circuit - has survived a number of crises in its history, from financial issues, a switch to Dundrod in 1953, losing world championship status, the Troubles, promoter changes and, in recent years, the weather.

This world-renowned race survived all those plus the Great Depression, the Second World War and withdrawal of Tourist Board funding, resulting in the formation of the Ulster Grand Prix Supporters Club in 1963, since when over £1million has been provided in financial support.

Back in 1971, just two months after the epic 250cc race won in horrendous conditions by Ray McCullough, Grand Prix House was left in rubble from a terrorist bomb.

The Prix did not run in 1972 due to the civil unrest in the province - with a short circuit staged at Bishopscourt instead - and then, in 1973, world championship status was withdrawn from Dundrod by the Federation International Motorcycling (FIM).

Along came TT F1, and Joey Dunlop's five world titles kept the event buoyant through the eighties, but in 1993 the promoters, Ulster Centre Promotions, went bust when the UGP Supporters Club refused to back them and the future of the Prix looked in doubt.

In stepped Billy Nutt and the Coleraine Club, who kept the wheels turning until the local Dundrod and District Club took over the reins.

It was in 2007, when the event was in doubt due to a lack of commercial sponsorship and Government funding, that the Belfast Telegraph stepped in as title sponsor and, with other new backers, the event was secured.

Now would appear to be the end game for the Ulster Grand Prix under the Dundrod and District Club but, if the worst comes to pass and the Prix does not run in 2020, the implications for road racing in the province could well be bleak.

The immediate impact would be on insurance premiums, which are currently shared by the organising clubs, many of whom could be liable for additional costs to cover the missing contributions from absent parties, while dwindling crowds have hit the income of most clubs and, indeed, is a major factor in the event's current predicament.

Of course, a backer could yet step in with the necessary finance to once again allow the UGP to recover from the brink of extinction, but for how long?

Alternatively, the Governing Motorcycling Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre), whose AGM is this Saturday in the Lodge Hotel, Coleraine, could run the event to give a year's breathing space while promoters are sounded out.

An even bigger plan whereby Government steps in and underwrites 2020 - so as no promoter is putting their neck on the line in the hope that the weather doesn't decimate the event - could also come to fruition.


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Roy Harris

07-11-2019, 01:11 PM
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RE: ULSTER GRAND PRIX STATEMENT
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Six-figure debt could wipe out Ulster GP

The full extent of the financial crisis threatening the future of the historic Ulster Grand Prix road races can today be revealed.

The organising Dundrod Motorcycle Club are facing insolvency within weeks as they struggle to repay six-figure debts.

Among those owed money are this year's race winners, including Peter Hickman, the Dundrod outright lap record holder at 136.415mph, making him and the course the fastest in the road racing world.

But 97 years of history could come to an end, UGP chiefs have warned, unless a financial saviour can be found.

The tipping point came as bad weather dramatically reduced the attendance at this year's August event.

Dundrod club president James Courtney said:

"We had a plan in place and were dealing with the debt that would have wiped it out in a year and a half. Then, due to a very bad forecast, nobody came on Saturday and we found ourselves six-figures in debt and in trouble."

And he called for a rethink and restructuring on how events like the UGP are run, saying: "What is needed is a commercial team to run the event. The meeting has to be run as a business."



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Roy Harris
08-11-2019, 12:44 PM
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