MCUI responds to Ulster GP cancellation, confirms 2024 road races
Updated: Thursday 11th January 2024. The MCUI (Ulster Centre) has confirmed its calendar for the 2024 season, and also issued a response to the Ulster Grand Prix’s statement that “ongoing insurance issues” had caused a fifth successive cancellation.
In a statement, the MCUI (UC) confirmed that the Cookstown 100 would run on 26th-27th April, the North West 200 from 8th-11th May and the Armoy Races of Legends across 26th-27th July. It also claimed that it had not received confirmation from the DDMC by the deadline required to ratify its calendar for 2024.
“The Dundrod & District MCC had been set a deadline of the 8th January Council meeting to confirm if their event was running or not,” said the MCUI (UC) statement. “This, unfortunately, was not a scenario we wished to happen but the Centre had several other agencies, Government departments and other Motorsport clubs within the 2&4 Wheel Motorsport Group that needed an answer to allow forward planning for 2024. The MCUI (UC) also needed clarification to confirm not only the events calendar, but the total number of events to be locked into the 2024 insurance policy.
“Reference the Dundrod Press release 8th January which stated that ‘ongoing insurance issues’ was one of the reasons for not running, again, for clarification, the MCUI (UC) does not have any insurance issues and are committed to our agreed renewal for 2024 events. We therefore assume the D&D MCC are referring to the increased cost to themselves.”
Alongside the aforementioned road races, a full Ulster Superbike Championship season is planned, kicking off at Bishopscourt on 16th March and culminating in the Sunflower Trophy weekend at the same venue in October. A ten-meeting USBK season is planned, featuring six races at Bishopscourt and four at Kirkistown.
Racing has not happened around the 7.4-mile Dundrod Circuit since 2019, with the Covid-19 pandemic, increased insurance costs and a lack of sponsorship funding all playing their parts in stopping the Ulster Grand Prix from returning.
The future of the race has been in doubt since the Dundrod and District Club, who hosted the historic event, was issued with a winding-up order in 2020 before being forced into liquidation having racked up around £300,000 worth of debt.
In a statement, the DDMC said that “despite recent positive negotiations with stakeholders of the event, the club has been left with no choice but to take this course of action, given motorcycle sport’s ongoing insurance issues and a lack of sufficient time to find a solution to these challenges.
It also stated that it “remains committed to reviving the Ulster Grand Prix and will continue to work towards achieving that goal.”
First held in 1922, the Ulster Grand Prix was long dubbed “the fastest road race in the world”, with lap speeds regularly over the 130mph mark, topping out at 136.415 set by Peter Hickman at the last running of the event in 2019.
Road racing royalty regularly competed, and won, at the Ulster, with the legendary Joey Dunlop topping the charts with 24 victories to his name. Other winners include Bruce Anstey, Guy Martin, Mike Hailwood, Geoff Duke, Giacomo Agostini and Wayne Gardner
An attempt by the Revival Racing Club to run the race for its centenary year in 2022 never came to fruition and the cancellation of the 2024 edition marks the second consecutive year that the DDMC has been unable to get the event going again.
All road racing in Northern Ireland came under question at the start of 2023 due to a sharp rise in insurance costs, but a revised deal at the 11th hour saw racing return, including the International North West 200 along the Causeway Coast.