John Burrows optimistic about Ulster Grand Prix return

The Dundrod event was due to take place in August for the first time since 2019 but government funding of £800,000, which was also intended for the North West 200, fell through.

Tourism NI refused to support the financial package, which had been signed by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economy.

The public body said its decision was based on “financial and legal reasons” and revealed the amount requested was more than six times the total awarded for international road races in 2019.

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Burrows Engineering/RK Racing team boss John Burrows with Mike Browne and his son Jack during a pre-season test in Cartagena, Spain.

Former road racer Burrows, who runs the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing team, said: “If the Ulster Grand Prix had been given the green light this year it would probably be a big ask to run it after two years. of covid.

“But I would be pretty confident the event could come back in the future if they can just get the funding they need over the line.

“It’s good to have good people involved like Phillip McCallen and Mervyn Whyte who are passionate about motorcycle racing.

“I don’t know the full story of all this, but obviously the funding didn’t come through and that’s shocking to road racing,” Burrows added.

“This is the first race we have lost this year and at the moment we have a lot of Irish national road races which we plan to return to this year but you wonder how many will actually take place due to the financial challenges that they have to face after these last two years.

“It doesn’t look like Covid will stop road racing from happening this year, but even that aside, it takes such a massive effort to put on a road racing event. How many clubs will have this enthusiasm and the necessary finances to get back up and running?

While Burrows admitted his disappointment at the cancellation, he revealed he doubts the “world’s fastest road race” will be revived in 2022.

“The Ulster Grand Prix is ​​really important from a road racing point of view, but if we can get all of our national events back this year with the North West 200 and the TT, then from a team point of view, it’s not the end of the world,” Burrows said.

“But obviously it would be great to see him again and everyone knows what a good road race we have at Dundrod.

“Unfortunately I had my doubts as to whether we would see the Ulster Grand Prix again this year for whatever reason, but I think there are some good enthusiastic people involved and I’m sure they will do their best. best to make it happen if they can.

“It’s unfortunate for them that they worked so hard to get this funding and then got pulled out. Maybe the face of the road race just didn’t fit and, unfortunately, they shot it.

Burrows’ young son Jack and road racer Mike Browne were in Spain this week for a three-day test in Cartagena.

Browne will lead the Co Tyrone team challenge at the Irish National Road Races and the Isle of Man TT. The Cork man will also make his North West 200 debut from May 10-14.

Schoolboy Jack will race in the Irish Minibike Championship and will also make his short circuit debut on a Honda Moto3 at the Ulster Superbike rounds.

The Irish road racing season kicks off with the Cookstown 100 Centenary from April 22-23.

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