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All systems go for Ulster Grand Prix

Racing star Michael Dunlop in action during the International North West 200 races in May 2019
Willis Marshall

All roads will lead to the Dundrod circuit outside Belfast this week for the FonaCab Ulster Grand Prix.

The event will see the best pure road racer on the planet tackle the world-famous circuit with Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison the likely men to produce the goods at the head of the show.

Hickman and Harrison have been the two most consistent road racers at international level for the past two seasons.

Both riders lapped the Isle of Man TT circuit faster than any other rider in the race's history.

The Ulster Grand Prix (UGP) once held the tag of the fastest road race in the world until Hickman set a new absolute lap record at 135.452mph at the TT Races in 2018.

Dundrod will be hoping to bring back that title if the conditions are right, and Hickman himself believes that Dundrod can again take on that mantle as the world's fastest road race in 2019.

Outside of Hickman and Harrison, there are a few other riders who could give battle to the two H's.

They are namely Manxman Conor Cummins, Australian David Johnson, Fermanagh's Lee Johnston, and of course if fit, Michael Dunlop.

Lee Johnston has been in fine form in 2019 and he took his first TT win in his career back in June.

The pint-sized Johnston believes that he has the machinery and the skill to put it to the boys at the front.

A treble winner at the UGP in 2015, Johnson knows only to well how to ride and to win around Dundrod.

"It's not going to be easy but I will give it a good go," said Johnston.

"Riding in the British Supersport Championships this year has definitely helped me but its going to be tough against the likes of Deano and Hicky who are in mega form at the moment.

"Those guys will sets the targets that the rest of us will have to follow".

Michael Dunlop on the other hand is in the hat of will he or won't he.

It's been broadly publicised in the press and on social media that the 30-year-old is still recovering from wrist, pelvic, and rib injuries sustained at a crash during the Southern 100.

Dunlop did compete at the recent Armoy Road Races on the Tyco BMW where he won both Superbike races, but he admitted himself back to the A&E afterwards and had his wrist set in a cast, which looks like hindering his hopes of even competing.

He will have to pass a medical at the Ulster Grand Prix to determine if he is fit to race.

It would be fair to say that the Ulster Grand Prix needs Dunlop in its grids, and hopefully he will be there.

Ulster Grand Prix Schedule

Wednesday August 7

Roads Close for practice from 10am-9.30pm

Thursday August 8

Roads close for practice and racing 10am - 9.30pm

Circle K Superbike Race 5 Laps

Belfast International Airport Lightweight Race: 4 Laps

DHK Recovery Services Ultra Lightweight Race: 4 Laps

Shoei Helmets Supersport Race: 5 Laps

Antrim Castle Mall Supertwins Race: 4 Laps

Saturday August 10: Race Day

Roads Close 9.30am - 8.30pm

Superstock Race 6 Laps

Centra Whitemountain Service Station Supersport Race: 6 Laps

Chimney Corner Hotel Lightweight Race: 5 Laps

Plant Lubrication Ultra Lightweight Race: 5 Laps

MMB Surfacing UGP Superbike Race: 7 Laps

Maxwell Freight Services Supertwins Race: 5 Laps

Skegness Raceview Supersport Race: 6 Laps

Around A Pound Superbike Race: 6 Laps

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