Motorcycle road racing is back on the calendar in 2022. After two years of battling COVID-19 restrictions, the North West 200 will return on May 8, 2022 and the Isle of Man TT (IOMTT) will return on May 28 2022. While the IOMTT and the North West 200 have been in the lead for some time now, the Northern Ireland Grand Prix in Ulster is not a given.
Even before the pandemic wreaked havoc on road racing, the Ulster GP was struggling to pay its bills. As a result, the organization entered into a voluntary agreement to repay their £300,000 debt to creditors in 2019. Unfortunately, this resulted in the Ulster Grand Prix winners not receiving the promised prize after the 2019 event .
To help the struggling organization get back on its feet, former North West 200 Events Director Mervyn Whyte teamed up with road racing legend Philip McCallen to form the Revival Racing Motorcycle Club. Thanks to the organisation’s efforts, the Ulster Grand Prix is set to return to the Dundrod Circuit of Northern Ireland for its 100th anniversary in 2022.
“We understand the unique appeal of the Ulster Grand Prix for riders and fans alike, and are delighted to bring racing back to this famous track,” the Revival Racing Motorcycle Club said in a statement released. “It’s been a very uncertain time for the sport due to the coronavirus and we can’t wait to hear the bikes hitting the flying kilo again this summer.”
In 2019, IOMTT winner Peter Hickman lapped the Dundrod circuit with an average speed of 136.4 mph. This top speed allowed the Ulster Grand Prix to snatch the “world’s fastest road race” from the IOMTT. As riders charge the “Flying Kilo” again in 2022, riders and fans alike are thrilled the show is back.
“For the fans and for the sport it’s good because, along with the Isle of Man TT and the North West 200, it’s one of the iconic road races with its own place in the calendar,” explained Ulster GP winner Lee Johnson. “One hundred years is a milestone for any major sporting event and to have the North West back but not ‘Ulster’ would have felt a bit odd.”
However, with the Ulster Grand Prix’s past financial problems, riders like Hickman and Johnson are reluctant to commit to racing at this time. Only time will tell if the best road racing talent will return to the Ulster GP grid, but the new series will release new details in the near future.
“We are indebted to the volunteers of the Ulster Grand Prix for their collaboration and hard work in bringing this famous race into its centenary,” the Revival Racing Motorcycle Club statement concluded. “More details on the week-long race week program will be announced soon.”