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The Ulster Grand Prix is a motorcycle race that takes place on the 7.3-mile Dundrod Circuit made up entirely of closed-off public roads 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 (now MotoGP), a place it held until 1971. It also counted for the Formula TT Championship between 1979 and 1990.[citation needed] According to the race organisers, it is the fastest road race in the world.[1]

Ulster Grand Prix
Dundrod Circuit.svg
VenueDundrod Circuit
First race1922
Most wins (rider)Joey Dunlop (24)

HistoryEdit

 
Hairpin bend on the Dundrod Circuit

Thomas Moles, motorcycle enthusiast and Member of Parliament, helped to push through parliament the first Road Races Act, which made it legal for the Clady Course to be closed for the first Ulster Grand Prix on 14 October 1922. That first race had 75 entries in four classes (250cc, 350cc, 600cc and over 600cc).[2] The race has been held on three different circuits. The 20.5-mile Old Clady circuit was used from 1922 until 1939 and included a notoriously bumpy 7-mile straight. It also ran across part of the grass runway at RAF Aldergrove and for the first two years of its existence the pits were on the Seven Mile Straight, by Loanends Primary School.[2]

In 1926 the 500cc race was won by Graham Walker on a Sunbeam. He also won the 1928 Senior race on a Rudge. In the 1936 Lightweight (250cc) event, Ginger Wood and Bob Foster, both on New Imperials, crossed the line so close, that after over 200 miles of racing, it took the judges an hour to decide that Wood was the winner by one-fifth of a second. Foster was, however, adjudged to have achieved the fastest lap. The 1939 Grand Prix was almost called off, but went ahead in spite of an entry of only 60 riders.[2]

After World War II the new Clady circuit was used that, due to road improvements, was now 16.5 miles in length and in use between 1947 and 1952.

In 1953 the race was moved to the 7.401-mile Dundrod Circuit where it is still held. The 1971 event was won by Australian Jack Findlay in what was the Ulster Grand Prix's last year as part of the FIM Grand Prix international motorcycle racing calendar. Findlay's victory on a Suzuki was also notable for marking the first 500cc class win for a motorcycle powered by a two stroke engine.[3][4] 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.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7][8]

Famous ridersEdit

 
Joey Dunlop during the 1982 Ulster Grand Prix

Joey Dunlop won 24 Ulster Grand Prix races during his career, with Phillip McCallen winning 14 races, Peter Hickman with 13 wins, Bruce Anstey 12[9] and Brian Reid 9 wins.[citation needed] Some of the famous riders include: Guy Martin (11 wins) Stanley Woods (7 wins), Jimmie Guthrie, Jimmie Simpson, Artie Bell, Les Graham, Freddie Frith (3 wins), Geoff Duke (3 wins), John Surtees (6 wins), Ray Amm, Carlo Ubbiali (5 wins), Bill Lomas (3 wins), Mike Hailwood (7 wins), Giacomo Agostini (7 wins), Phil Read (3 wins), Bill Ivy (3 wins), Bob McIntyre, Gary Hocking (3 wins), Tom Herron (5 wins), Ron Haslam (5 wins), Jon Ekerold, and more recently Mick Grant, Wayne Gardner, Steve Hislop, Robert Dunlop (9 wins).

FIM World Championship roundsEdit

A pink background indicates a round that was not part of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing championship.

Year Track 50 cc 125 cc 250 cc 350 cc 500 cc Report
Rider Manufacturer Rider Manufacturer Rider Manufacturer Rider Manufacturer Rider Manufacturer
1971 Dundrod Race cancelled [N 1]   Ray McCullough Yamaha   Peter Williams MZ   Jack Findlay Suzuki Report
1970 Dundrod   Ángel Nieto Derbi   Kel Carruthers Yamaha   Giacomo Agostini MV Agusta   Giacomo Agostini MV Agusta Report
1969 Dundrod   Ángel Nieto Derbi   Kel Carruthers Benelli   Giacomo Agostini MV Agusta   Giacomo Agostini MV Agusta Report
1968 Dundrod   Bill Ivy Yamaha   Bill Ivy Yamaha   Giacomo Agostini MV Agusta   Giacomo Agostini MV Agusta Report
1967 Dundrod   Bill Ivy Yamaha   Mike Hailwood Honda   Giacomo Agostini MV Agusta   Mike Hailwood Honda Report
1966 Dundrod   Luigi Taveri Honda   Ginger Molloy Bultaco   Mike Hailwood Honda   Mike Hailwood Honda Report
1965 Dundrod   Ernst Degner Suzuki   Phil Read Yamaha   František Šťastný Jawa   Dick Creith Norton Report
1964 Dundrod   Hugh Anderson Suzuki   Phil Read Yamaha   Jim Redman Honda   Phil Read Norton Report
1963 Dundrod   Hugh Anderson Suzuki   Jim Redman Honda   Jim Redman Honda   Mike Hailwood MV Agusta Report
1962 Dundrod   Luigi Taveri Honda   Tommy Robb Honda   Jim Redman Honda   Mike Hailwood MV Agusta Report
Year Track 125 cc 250 cc 350 cc 500 cc Report
Rider Manufacturer Rider Manufacturer Rider Manufacturer Rider Manufacturer
1961 Dundrod   Kunimitsu Takahashi Honda   Bob McIntyre Honda   Gary Hocking MV Agusta   Gary Hocking MV Agusta Report
1960 Dundrod   Carlo Ubbiali MV Agusta   Carlo Ubbiali MV Agusta   John Surtees MV Agusta   John Hartle Norton Report
1959 Dundrod   Mike Hailwood Ducati   Gary Hocking MZ   John Surtees MV Agusta   John Surtees MV Agusta Report
1958 Dundrod   Carlo Ubbiali MV Agusta   Tarquinio Provini MV Agusta   John Surtees MV Agusta   John Surtees MV Agusta Report
1957 Dundrod   Luigi Taveri MV Agusta   Cecil Sandford FB-Mondial   Keith Campbell Moto Guzzi   Libero Liberati Gilera Report
1956 Dundrod   Carlo Ubbiali MV Agusta   Luigi Taveri MV Agusta   Bill Lomas Moto Guzzi   John Hartle Norton Report
1955 Dundrod   John Surtees NSU   Bill Lomas Moto Guzzi   Bill Lomas Moto Guzzi Report
1954 Dundrod   Rupert Hollaus NSU   Werner Haas NSU   Ray Amm Norton   Ray Amm [N 2] Norton Report
1953 Dundrod   Werner Haas NSU   Reg Armstrong NSU   Ken Mudford Norton   Ken Kavanagh Norton Report
1952 Clady   Cecil Sandford MV Agusta   Maurice Cann Moto Guzzi   Ken Kavanagh Norton   Cromie McCandless Gilera Report
1951 Clady   Cromie McCandless [N 3] FB-Mondial   Bruno Ruffo Moto Guzzi   Geoff Duke Norton   Geoff Duke Norton Report
1950 Clady   Carlo Ubbiali FB-Mondial   Maurice Cann Moto Guzzi   Bob Foster Velocette   Geoff Duke Norton Report
1949 Clady   Maurice Cann Moto Guzzi   Freddie Frith Velocette   Les Graham AJS Report
Footnotes
  1. ^ The 1971 50cc race was cancelled as the organisers had only received eight entries.[10]
  2. ^ The 1954 500cc race was stopped due to bad weather and the race was excluded from the world championship.[11]
  3. ^ The 1951 125cc race only had four competitors and the race was excluded from the world championship.[12]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The World's Fastest Road Race" Ulster Grand Prix Official Website 2010. Retrieved August 2010
  2. ^ a b c Eddie McIlwaine (17 August 2008). "10 things you didn't know about the big event". The Belfast Telegraph. p. 15.
  3. ^ Jack Findlay obituary – The Telegraph
  4. ^ "MotoGP Milestones". crash.net. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  5. ^ Ulster Grand Prix 2001 – Preview (retrieved 10 September 2006)
  6. ^ Victoria O'Hara (17 August 2008). "Revved up for race". The Belfast Telegraph. p. 15.
  7. ^ Pinchin, Gary (2010) "Bruce Anstey: Road racing’s reclusive hero", Motorcycle News, 18 August 2010. Retrieved 28 August 2010
  8. ^ "Ulster Grand Prix: Anstey celebrates being fastest man on planet", The Belfast Telegraph, 17 August 2010. Retrieved 28 August 2010
  9. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/northern-ireland/37079251
  10. ^ "Les Championnats du Monde de Courses sur Route – L'année 1971" [World Championship Road Racing – 1971]. Racing Memory (in French). Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ "Les Championnats du Monde de Courses sur Route – L'année 1954" [World Championship Road Racing – 1954]. Racing Memory (in French). Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ "Les Championnats du Monde de Courses sur Route – L'année 1951" [World Championship Road Racing – 1951]. Racing Memory (in French). Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External linksEdit