Two of the biggest stars from the 2017 Isle of Man TT are set to go head to head once again as the Ulster Grand Prix gets underway in August.
While lap record holder Ian Hutchinson is set to miss the world’s fastest road race this year after breaking his femur and ankle in a crash in the Senior TT earlier this month, his adversary Michael Dunlop will return to action on the Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000 he took to victory in the blue riband TT race.
Dunlop will be looking to secure his first victory at the super-fast Dundrod circuit in four years after narrowly missing out to Hutchinson last year.
“The Ulster is the last international of the year and we’re working hard to get the bike sorted, with new parts on their way and a few improvements to make,” he said.
“The competition will be tough, it’s always hot and heavy with that pack start and Dundrod and we’ll all be looking forward to getting stuck in.”
Heading that stiff competition is sure to be Peter Hickman, who heads into the final international road race of the year after a breakthrough Isle of Man TT saw him finish on the podium in each of the five races he started.
Already an Ulster Grand Prix winner in the wet, Hickman is looking strong to add to that tally with the Smiths BMW team.
“I’ve had a good year in both BSB and at the TT, where I turned up with nothing and left with five podiums,” he said. “I’ve been strong at Dundrod since first turning a whele there and while I was a bit disappointed not to do better last year, I’m absolutely coming to make amends this August.”
However, it won’t just be those two at the front with Bruce Anstey set to make his return on the Padgetts RC213V-S. As quick as Dunlop and Hutchy in 2016, he’ll be keen to make amends for a difficult 2017 TT.
Dean Harrison is another to watch at Dundrod as he also comes off the back of a successful TT having achieved his first Superbike podiums, while William Dunlop will also be keen to mix it with the frontrunners.
One man hoping to join them on the grid will be local ace Lee Johnston, who is in a race against time to be fit for the race after his crash at the Isle of Man TT.
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