The fastest road race in the world will be seen on BBC Network Television for the first time in its 95-year history when highlights of the races are shown on BBC Two on Saturday, August 19 at 11am.
Greenlight Television has provided coverage of the Ulster Grand Prix to BBC NI for 15 years, as part of BBCNI’s enduring support of motorcycle road racing programming which includes all the headline events in Northern Ireland, and it's been a long-held aim to bring this breathtaking sport to a wider audience.
“The Ulster Grand Prix has a fantastic following and produces thrilling action so it’s great news that we’ve been able to secure this new highlights package on network BBC Two – bringing the world’s fastest road race to an even wider audience. We’re always looking at ways of enhancing our coverage and there’s a great range of options for our audiences this year on various platforms”, said Jane Tohill, Executive Producer BBC Sport NI, adding that, “BBC Sport NI and the Greenlight TV team are really looking forward to the event”
Robert Graham, Chairman of the Dundrod & District Motorcycle Club, promoters of the MCE Ulster Grand Prix, said “Naturally we’re delighted at the news that coverage of the world’s fastest road race will be enhanced this year, with the addition of a highlights show that will be broadcast UK-wide on BBC Two”, he added, “It’s good news for road racing fans throughout the UK, and good news for the wider stakeholders of the event, giving us all an opportunity for further, widespread coverage. We look forward to seeing the show, which no doubt will be of the same high quality output we have come to expect from BBC Sport NI and Greenlight TV”
Director of Greenlight Television, David Beynon, shares the delight of BBC Sport NI and the organising committee saying, “following the great success of the BBC Two Network coverage of the North West 200 earlier this year, we are delighted to have the opportunity to deliver another hour-long highlights package of what promises to be a thrilling motorcycle event in Northern Ireland”.
Although Northern Ireland is the spiritual home of road racing and though media attention at the Ulster Grand Prix invariably focusses on the Dunlop dynasty (brothers William and Michael will race against each other again this year) this is a truly international event.
The lap record set by New Zealander Bruce Anstey at 133.977mph stood for six years, beaten only last year by Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson, who raised it to 134.089, and this year the best road racers in the world will be trying to take it away from him, with riders from Australia and the USA on the same grid.
As far as other records are concerned, Joey Dunlop's tally of 24 wins is unlikely to be threatened, but there's always a chance that someone could challenge Phillip McCallen's enviable record – five wins in one day, back in 1996.
This year he'll be keeping an eye on proceedings from the grid as part of the BBC team, giving viewers – and presenter Stephen Watson – the benefit of his unique insight into the happenings on a racetrack he and so many others regard as not just the fastest in the world, but the best.