By Kyle White Belfast Newsletter
The Ulster Grand Prix is poised to return in 2022 as a revamped racing festival featuring classic racing machines to mark the centenary of the iconic Dundrod event under a new promoting club.
Former North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte will be a director of the company, which will oversee the running of the UGP after the event fell into financial difficulties in 2019, owing debts of up to £300,000.
As part of a rescue package to bring the Ulster Grand Prix back next summer, funding of approximately £2million is being sought from the Northern Ireland Executive, which will also benefit the North West 200.
Ulster road racing great Phillip McCallen is also involved in the venture, which aims to bring Northern Ireland’s two major road races under the same organisational umbrella.
Official confirmation of the plans is expected within days.
McCallen runs a Classic bike festival at Bishopscourt in Co Down and the event will take place a week before the Ulster GP next year, which is set to run from August 16-20. It is hoped that many of the teams that compete in the Classic TT will make the trip to Dundrod before travelling on to the Isle of Man for the Classic TT, which takes place at the end of August.
Earlier this year it was revealed that the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club had entered into a CVA with its creditors, allowing a much-reduced proportion of its debts to be paid back over a period of time.
Many riders, including Peter Hickman – who dominated in 2019 with a record seven wins from seven starts – did not receive their prize money.
However, it is understood that most of the competitors are willing to return to the Ulster GP, which will effectively be under new management in 2022, when the newly formed Revival Club with Whyte and McCallen at the helm will take over the reins.
There is also an ambitious proposal to bring a round of the British Superbike Championship to Northern Ireland at Bishopscourt, which would be held on the calendar prior to the North West 200, making logistical sense for those teams – such as Honda Racing and FHO Racing – that will participate in the north coast road race, which will return next year from May 10-14 after back to back cancellations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Talks have already taken place with BSB Director Stuart Higgs but it is unlikely to happen until 2023 at the earliest.