Dates announced for the 2018 MCE Ulster Grand Prix
Just a few weeks after another record-breaking year at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix, organisers have announced that Bike Week 2018 will take place between 5th – 11th August.
Practice sessions for the MCE UGP will take place on Wednesday 8th August and the morning of Thursday 9th August, followed by racing that afternoon and on the main race day, Saturday 11th August.
Clerk of the Course, Noel Johnston, has also confirmed that there are some changes on the way for 2018.
“August 2017 saw some spectacular racing at Dundrod, with Peter Hickman scooping a hat trick of wins and the lap record around the 7.4 mile circuit broken three times in one week, eventually being secured by Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider Dean Harrison at 134.614mph.
“The early indications are that we drew a bigger, and more international audience at the event than ever before, which we’re delighted about. The challenge for us is to keep raising the bar year on year to ensure those people keep coming back to the event.
“Despite the high quality of the racing and the competitors this year, there’s always room for improvement and that’s why we’re working hard behind the scenes to make a few changes to our schedule for next year.
“I’m not yet in a position to confirm what we will be doing differently, but watch out for an announcement on 2nd October,” he added.
The 2018 dates are subject to formal agreement by the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (UC) which will be confirmed at their upcoming inter centre conference.
For more information visit www.ulstergrandprix.net, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Frohburg road races take place next weekend, 23/24th September, and will be the curtain closer to the 2017 IRRC championship.
There will be plenty of action in store for those fortunate enough to make the journey, but also some extra special attention for Irish fans as both Gary and William Dunlop are set to feature.
Gary has been making huge progress since his roads debut at the Mid-Antrim 150 back in 2016 and has been involved in some great races, all of which culminated in him winning his first road race at the 2017 East Coast Racing Festival.
The Dunlops have a strong history at Frohburg. Joey and Robert both raced there and enjoyed success and Michael is still the outright lap record holder. Gary is taking some good form with him and will certainly be looking to mix it up at the head of the pack.
William Dunlop will be accompanying his cousin to Germany to compete in the Supersport and Superbike classes. William is a true master of 600cc machinery and is well regarded by many as the master of that class, so he is sure to be in contention.
What will be interesting is to see how William fares onboard his Yamaha R1, the same bike that reached a speed of over 200mph at the 2017 Ulster Grand Prix.
It has been a testing and frustrating season for William in 2017, but his super smooth riding style coupled with his outright pace will surely see him mount a serious challenge for honours when racing gets underway.
Photo credit: Donal Glackin
Triple Champion McGee Moves Into Third in Rankings as Michael Sweeney is awarded man of the meeting at the East Coast Racing Festival.
Irish rider Derek McGee claimed his third Championship title of the season at the East Coast Racing Festival's Killalane Road Races, round 22 of the Duke Road Race Rankings 2017.
Having already secured the MCUI Supersport and Supertwin championships, the Coole, County Westmeath rider returned to racing after sustaining injuries during the Ulster Grand Prix to take third
place in the Evolution Camping Open Championship Race which gave him the premier MCUI Superbike Championship title and moves him up to third place in the Duke Rankings.
The racing at the Killalane circuit was sadly cut short due to inclement weather that arrived mid-afternoon, and with seven of the eleven races run, Michael Sweeney was awarded Man of the Meeting having taken a double victory in the Supersport 600 race, and finishing second in the Superbike race which was won by Derek Sheils.
Gary Dunlop took his first ever road race win in the 125cc race, as a result he climbs up the table from 83rd to 56th. Derek Sheils slots into seventh position, up one rung whilst Michael Sweeney climbs four to 11th.
As a result of his 350cc Classic race victory Barry Davidson moves into 13th, again up one place, whilst Seamus Elliott, winner of the 400cc race advances 12 places to 30th.
Photo credit: Derek Wilson.
Carole Nash East Coast Racing Festival - Race Day Run Down
The inaugural Carole Nash East Coast Racing Festival brought the curtain down on the 2017 Irish national road racing season.
Held at the Killalane circuit, the newly formed East Coast Motorcycling Club put on a superb show in varying weather conditions and ensured that the fans were treated to some stellar racing, more than a few memorable moments, and one very historic victory.
Gary Dunlop made his roads debut at a very wet and wild Mid-Antrim 150 back in 2016 and has since proved his mettle on board his trusty Joey's Bar MCC machinery, but until yesterday the Ballymoney rider had been without a win. Thankfully that was all set to change as Gary took his maiden victory in the 125/Moto3 race.
After Paul Robsinson retired, Dunlop showed his worth and raced to a dominant win ahead of Nigel Moore in second, and a superb third place finish for Melissa Kennedy.
"Done something today I've dreamed of since I was a kid, it dug up all kinda emotions again."
Son of the late, great Joey Dunlop, a win for Gary was met with thunderous applause from all and will rank among the highlights of this national roads campaign. Well done Gary!
GLAD TO BE BACK AT KILLALANE
Riders and fans alike were thrilled to be travelling back to Killalane after it had been brought back to the calendar following an absence in 2016 and there was plenty of action on show.
Derek Sheils has been nigh on unbeatable throughout the national season on board his Cookstown Burrows Engineering Suzuki, and he once again took the honours at a very inclement Killalane.
The Irishman was simply too hot for the rest of the field and strolled to victory, but alas, it wasn't enough to stop Derek McGee from clinching a 2017 Irish superbike championship crown.
The Mullingar Missle finished third and added a superbike championship to the two other titles he's already secured this season.
Michael Sweeney finished second and there was a superb fourth place finish for Seamus Elliot.
DOUBLE DELIGHT FOR SWEENEY
Michael Sweeney raced to a Supersport double at the East Coast Racing Festival in both the championship and non-championship races.
Local lad Sweeney was in fine fettle as he battled for championship honours with Derek Sheils, eventually seeing off the challenge and claiming victory ahead of his fellow countryman.
There was yet another podium finish for Paul Jordan and Team IMR in what has been a very encouraging first roads campaign for the team.
Senior support honours once again went to Joe Loughlin coming back following his accident at the Ulster Grand Prix. Joe raced to success ahead of David Howard and Johnathan Gormley.
There were wins for Richard Ford and Barry Davidson in the classic 250 and 350 classes respectively, and Paul Gartland was crowned Irish 400cc champion despite Ballymoney man Seamus Elliot taking the victory.
The East Coast Motorcycling Club should be thanked for all their hard work in getting this race back up and running. It produced great racing and moments that will live long in the memory.
Photos: Graham Stephenson
Manx Grand Prix Riders Improve Their Rankings
Brad Vicars won the Manx Grand Prix Newcomers Race A, the opening event of the 2017 races and round 21 of this year's Duke Road Race Rankings Championship.
Not content with winning the three-lap race, the 2016 Duke Rankings Newcomers Award winner also set a new lap record at 118.786 mph on his Merlin Sidecars Honda machine. The popular Yorkshire rider climbs nine places to 27th in the rankings table.
Ulsterman Darryl Tweed, who finished second in the same race and took eighth place in the Senior Manx Grand Prix slots into 18th position, up four.
Preston's Darren Cooper who lifted the Lightweight Manx Grand Prix trophy, also taking second in the Junior and ninth in the Senior races rises 14 places to 23rd.
Welsh rider Barry Lee Evans accomplished a fourth in the Junior, third in the Lightweight and second in the Senior is a new entry in the top 50 in 47th, moving up from 121st place!
Manxman Michael Evans to achieved the double, takingthe Junior and Senior Manx Grand Prix race wins is another new entry slotting into 61st position, whilst fellow 'Manxie' Jamie Willaims with a third in the Junior and fifth in the Senior moves from 88th to 60th place.