‘Crisis situation remains’ for under threat Ulster Grand Prix

The 2020 Ulster Grand Prix is still under threat of being cancelled as organisers petition to secure funding from the Northern Ireland politicians

Supersport UGP Peter Hickman.jpg

The 2020 Ulster Grand Prix is still facing the threat of cancellation amid ongoing talks with local politicians to secure funding needed to keep the historic road race alive.

Last year the organising Dundrod and District Motorcycle club said the event was in ‘crisis’ after revealing debts in the region of £250,000, in part due to the 2019 event being hampered by poor weather and disappointing attendance.

Dubbed the ‘World’s Fastest Road Race’ after Peter Hickman set a new lap record speed of 136.415mph at the Dundrod circuit, it was nonetheless achieved against the backdrop of thin crowds after severe weather warnings for Saturday’s main race day – it says – prompted fans to stay home.

Talks have been ongoing with local politicians to secure funding for the event, but the club says small progress means the threat of cancellation still looms because preparations for the 2020 Ulster GP should have begun by now.

"Over the past months the race organisers have met with a host of public representatives including Councillors, Westmister MPs, MLAs and other government officials," said the Dundrod club's statement.

"Representation has also been made to the recently restored NI Assembly and the Department for Communities Minister.

"Whilst there has been a sympathetic hearing to the UGP's plight, the crisis situation remains. Discussions continue but, so far, no financial assistance has been made available as we move into the period when preparation for the 2020 event should have been well underway.

Coming after the Enniskillen road races was cancelled and the Cookstown 100 also announced its own concerns over this year’s event, Dundrod has urged politicians to do their bit to help something so integral to ‘Northern Ireland’s sporting culture;.

“If the sport is to survive and flourish it will require similar financial support from government that other sports receive.

"Road racing is a part of Northern Ireland's sporting culture and brings major financial benefits to the province and local communities.

"Only a small fraction of the sums provided to many other major sporting events would make an enormous difference to events like the Ulster Grand Prix."