Ulster Grand Prix on verge of being cancelled for 2020

The 2020 Ulster Grand Prix will need additional finance to run next year after thin crowds resulted in a 'huge loss of income' following the 2019 race

Supersport UGP Peter Hickman.jpg

The 2020 Ulster Grand Prix is at a ‘critical juncture’ over a decision whether to run the event or not after small crowds in 2019 created a funding shortfall.

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.

Resulting in ‘perhaps the smallest crowd the event has ever witnessed’, the ‘huge loss of income’ has resulted in a financial crisis that could see the 2020 Ulster Grand Prix cancelled altogether to recover costs.

“Over the past few months the Club has been trying to manage this difficult situation," read a post on its Facebook page. "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 ad 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.”

The statement from the Dundrod District Motorcycle Club comes after a damning revelation that a £255,000 investment from the government to improve safety standards and facilities was weighted more heavily in the latter. The BBC report alleged that only £25,000 of the money was spent on safety bales, with the rest going a new club house and facilities, such as a toilet block and showers.