Ask someone to name a motorcycle race held on public roads, chances are they will say the Isle of Man TT. The TT is not the only road race, far from it. In fact in a little over a week, practice for the Ulster Grand Prix begins, one of the most popular races on the road racing calendar.
For those of you not familiar with the event, it is held on the 7.732 mile Dundrod circuit near Belfast in Northern Ireland. The Ulster, as it’s referred to by road racing fans, was part of the inaugural Grand Prix motorcycle racing season in 1949, a place it held until 1971.
Unlike the TT’s time trial format, it’s a mass-start race and in recent years has been given the tag “The Fastest Road Race in the World”. The lap record currently stands to Bruce Anstey at an average speed of 133.977mph. Road racing legend Joey Dunlop holds the record for most wins with 24.
Of the current crop of road racing stars Guy Martin has the most with 11. Yes that is the same Guy Martin who has yet to win a TT. The shorter race distances, and cut and thrust of the mass start, appears to suit Guy more than the long lonely TT races.
I have only been to The Ulster once and that was back in 2007. For a road racing photographer who lives so close that statement is pretty inexcusable.
This year I will be putting that right, as I will be heading there on my way home from the MotoGP round at Indianapolis. I will be reporting with regular updates as the event unfolds.
In the mean time here are a couple of videos to whet your appetite along with some links with more information.
Photo: © 2014 Tony Goldsmith / TGF Photos – All Rights Reserved
Tony Goldsmith is an Isle of Man based freelance motorcycle racing photographer specializing in the Isle of Man TT races. He has also covered selected rounds of the British Superbike Championship and MotoGP. His online archive is available at www.tgfphotos.com and he can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.