Let’s cut to the chase here – thanks to Peter Hickman – the Ulster Grand Prix is once again the Fasted Road Race in the World! Well done Peter Hickman and your amazing 136.415 mph lap!
Thursday 8th August 2019 : Thursday Evening Race Session :
After a pretty grim Wednesday Practice Session that was effectively ruined by rain it was over to Thursday and the promise of a much more road racing friendly wether forecast.
The promise was fulfilled and the Dundrod skies were bright, maybe a little cloudy at times, but generally blessed with plenty of sunshine. All of which raised the expectations and crowd numbers for the Thursday evening race session.
In previous years the Superbike Race (1) was the last event on the Thursday but due to the fact that in recent years the race did not get run the organisers made what, I believe to be, a great decision and moved it up to the first race of the session.
There was also a ‘little‘ bit of pressure on this race; looking forward to Saturday the weather forecast was / is not looking positive. That meant that if the Ulster Grand Prix was to take back its former crown and title of being the ‘World’s Fastest Road Race’ then the only real likelihood of this happening in 2019 was in Superbike Race 1.
It is already well documented Peter Hickman done it – he brought the record back to Northern Ireland, but this race was so much more.
Conor Cummins took a record himself in this race clocking the fastest ever time through the speed trap at 202.8mph – #TeamPadgetts
Lee Johnston bust the 200mph mark at 201.0 mph as did Xavier Denis at 200.4 mph. Peter Hickman was 4th fastest through the speed trap.
During the race Dean Harrison and Peter Hickman had a great duel over the opening laps, Lee Johnston and Conor Cummins had a similar battle ongoing for third all the while creeping closer to the top two.
At the start of lap 3 the magic started and Hicky got the best of Dean Harrison down the ‘Flying Kilo’ and started to pull away. Conor Cummins and Lee Johnston were still jostling and starting to tighten in on Deano.
Then this happened – 136.415mph!
With Hicky’s lead at 5.8 seconds, Dean was securing his second place pulling away from Cummins when the race was red flagged with Sam West coming off his machine, which burst into flames. Thankfully rider was OK, the machine not so much!
Next up were the Lightweights and Ultra Lightweights. Two battles on the circuit at the same on this one.
Neil Kernohan and Davy Morgan pulled away into an early lead on their 250 machines and in the Ultra Lightweights Michal Dokoupil, Christian Elkin and Melissa Kennedy fought for the top spot.
Gary Dunlop’s engine blew up in the Practice Session however he managed to borrow a bike from Malcolm Love. Unfortunately for Gary he got a really poor start and was up against it from the beginning. However as he passed me on every lap he was noticeably clawing his way back up the field ultimately finishing 15th overall.
By lap 2 Kernohan and Morgan were separated by 0.064s! The Ultralightweights top 3 remained the same.
Neil Kernohan took the win from Davy Morgan by 0.062s following a red flag on the last lap. Throughout that superb race the pair could hardly be separated.
Czech rider Dokoupil came out on top in the Ultra Lightweights , Christian Elkin took second and Melissa Kennedy completed the podium (her first at the UGP) in third.
Gary Dunlop manages to squeeze into the top 15 on his borrowed Malcolm Love 125cc.
The race was stopped on the final lap to deal with an incident at Tornagrough.
“It was a really good race and I knew that Davy had a plan. I knew he wanted to get me at the last corner. The win puts a real smile on my face and builds the confidence for the rest of the week. Hopefully the weather man gets it wrong on Saturday and we can do it again.” – Neil Kenohan.
The 600 Supersport machines were the third set of machines out to the grid.
Obviously the superbike race was special – the record returning to Dundrod etc etc… this race was special too, epic may be a better word? Regardless it was great. Lee Johnston and Peter Hickman fought every inch, every foot, every yard and every mile of the UGP Circuit and could not be separated. Davy Todd was sitting in third and Dean Harrison in fourth by the end of lap two. By lap 3 it was still Johnston, Hickman but Deano had taken third from Davey Todd. By the end though Dean Harrison had third place in the bag but the winner was still to be determined.
At the very last second, the 11th hour, Hicky made his move at the hairpin, taking Lee Johnston and the victory by 0.357s.
One of the best things about road racing is the respect. These two guys fought every inch of that tarmac and when all was said and done and the chequered line was crossed they finished the race with a fist bump – that is special. That is road racing at its finest.
“I knew there was no way I was going to get away from Lee. The closest place I could get him was Wheelers and I managed to squeeze him out on the final lap. We probably did a mile-and-a-half side-by-side at the end. Lee’s a fantastic rider and it was a dead clean race.” – Peter Hickman.
The final scheduled race of the evening was the supertwins over four laps.
On lap 1 Joe Loughlin, Paul Jordan, Lee Johnston, Jamie Coward, Christian Elkin and Ian Lougher are all as one.
Somewhere neat the hairpin Lee Johnston’s bike blew up but Loughlin, Jordan, Coward and Elkin were still all wanting the win and racing in contention for it.
It was ridiculously tight right up to the line, Jamie Coward challenged Joe Loughlin, Joe Loughlin challenged Paul Jordan, everyone challenged everyone, it was breath taking stuff with Paul Jordan taking the win (his first UGP) from Joe Loughlin by 0.092 seconds and Jamie Coward just a further one quarter of a second behind.
An awesome race!
Saturday 10th August 2019 : Saturday Race Day :
I finished by Thursday analysis with the following statement…
Maybe that is just being hopeful, maybe it has been considered, maybe there are loads of reasons why it can’t happen. But with 2 yellow weather warning in place for rain and thunderstorms we really now need to hope and pray that the weather leaves Dundrod alone and we get a Saturday that can come close to the standard of this year’s Thursday session.
Guess what? It all came good! Read on to find out how and why!
On the morning of Saturday 10th August 2019 the general consensus was that the next race to be held at the Ulster Grand Prix Dundrod circuit would be on the Thursday race session of 2020. The weather was truly grim, it was foggy and raining – and if you have ever been to Northern Ireland you know the type of rain I mean – ‘That sorta rain that soaks you.’
However hope remained that if the weather forecast was accurate there would be a small window that would give a slim chance of getting a race or two into the 2019 event.
As it turns out the weather behaved itself a little more than was expected and with this improved weather coupled with some excellent organisation from the Clerk of the Course, Noel Johnston, and his team, the 2019 Ulster Grand Prix was graced with a full race schedule. All seven races ran and only one red flagged was waved. Thankfully no serious injuries were suffered and guess what…
Hicky did even more! Record, no not singular, records fell this week and it was definitely the Peter Hickman show.
But that isn’t all…
After delay, another delay and another delay courtesy of the weather, the Superstock machines graced the course at about 12:45pm. That statement sounds a bit negative – it isn’t. The weather controlled the morning, no one’s fault, simply nothing could be done. Never mind though things were starting to move.
Race 1 : Daly’s Hyundai Superstock Race :
Peter Hickman started the day as he meant to go on – determined and on fire. Davey Todd and Dean Harrison were keeping tabs on him however by lap 2 Dean had pulled into the pits and retired. Davey Todd kept good pace through the opening laps but Hickman soon started to put a gap between the pair ultimately taking the victory by +24 seconds.
Michael Sweeney and David Johnson (on The Factory Honda) were initially fighting for the third spot on the podium. However neither of them got it. Conor Cummins took that honour continuing his week’s great form. Lee Johnston who is always in the mix fought his way up to fourth. Irish man Derek Shiels continued with his impressive season taking fifth.
Peter Hickman wins on Saturday 10th August 2019 : 1
“It was absolutely brilliant and the bike was awesome. I got away cleanly and had no problems. I kept my tyres cool and Davey kept me honest for a few laps before I put my head down. I’m really happy for myself and the team.“ – Peter Hickman
Quote of the day so far goes to @DaveyTodd742 after racing @peterhickman60 for 6 laps of the UGP at speeds of almost 200mph in the wet. Coming down off the podium "Watch you don't fall there, that's really slippery" #UGP— Ulster Grand Prix (@UlsterGrandPrix) August 10, 2019
Race 2 : Centra White Mountain Supersport Race :
Another masterclass from Peter Hickman on his Smiths’ Racing BMW. Davey Todd and Lee Johnston were initially the main contenders for second which was ultimately taken by Lee Johnston 8.3 seconds behind Hickman. Lee Johnston pulled clears from Todd taking second place quite comfortably. Davey Todd took third having got into a tight fight with team mate Conor Cummins who finished fourth a mere 0.042 seconds from taking the podium’s third step. Jamie Coward was fifth and Derek Shiels still showing in sixth.
Peter Hickman wins on Saturday 10th August 2019 : 2
“Davey (Todd) got a better start but I got him in the slipstream and it it was really good from there – the same as the first race. I managed to stay clear of the spray. You have to world hard to make a break today and I’ve managed to do that in both races. The bike was awesome again.“ – Peter Hickman
Race 3 : Lightweight Machines : (Chimney Corner Hotel Lightweight Race & Plant Lubrication (NI) Ultra Lightweight Race) :
The lightweight race was abandoned after a red flag incident on lap 2 of five. No restart occurred. Neil Kernohan was leading at the red flag.
Race 4 : MMB Surfacing Superbike Race :
Things got off to a tight start here with nothing separating Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison. By the end of lap 1 the difference was 0.117 seconds. #TeamPagetts Conor Cummins wasn’t hanging about either only half a second behind Deano. On lap two Hicky started to stretch his wings taking a two second advantage into lap 3. Conor Cummins had moved into second ahead of Harrison.
By the chequered flag Hicky has a five second advantage and in crossing it equalled Philip McCallen’s record of 5 UGP wins during the event – the interest point was Hicky still had the potential of another two races in this years UGP. Dean Harrison refused to give up and took the second place from Conor. Lee Johnston remains continually in the mix and took fourth, Davey Todd was fifth and RK / Burrows Rider Derek Shiels took sixth.
Peter Hickman wins on Saturday 10th August 2019 : 3
The conditions were not ideal – all three races had different conditions and this was the hardest of all. The bike is working really well, it’s been set up perfectly for me and I’m delighted. – Peter Hickman
Race 5 : Maxwell Freight Services Supertwins Race :
It doesn’t have to be a superbike to be an epic race and this Supertwins race was absolute proof of that.
Paul Jordan set off wanting the 2019 UGP Supertwins double however this race was dominated by a thrilling duel between Christian Elkin and Joe Loughlin. Lap after lap these two riders swapped positions riding the slip stream, working the course, riding the race like a tactical game of chess.
Elkin took the win at the line, and I mean ‘at the line’, taking the victory by 0.078 seconds from Joe Loughlin who got his second second place at the 2019 UGP. Honestly this has to be a contender for race of the day.
Lee Johnston stepped onto the podium for the first time of the day, Jamie Coward was fourth with Paul Jordan fifth in a battle between the three that was almost as thrilling at that of the top two.
“I’m over the the moon! The conditions were terrible really but it was a fantastic race with Joe (Loughlin). On the last lap he went deep into the chicane and I took advantage. It’s fantastic, I’m really chuffed.” – Christian Elkin
Race 6: Skegness Raceways Supersport Race:
The thirds supersport race of the meeting, and Hicky’s penultimate race of the meeting. Do I really need to ask if he could make it 3/3 in the class?
Not only would it be 3/3 Supersport wins but it would also then be 6/6 for the 2019 UlsterGrand Prix.
Lee Johnston was the rider who was going to try to upset that record and he got off to strong start taking the early lead whilst Hicky was back in fifth. Hickman quickly found his pace and joined Lee Johnston at the top from where the pair were difficult to separate for the duration of the remainder of the race.
By lap four Hickman lead by only 0.101 seconds and by the end of the race Hicky took the victory by a tiny 0.145 seconds. The race had the whole of the Dundrod Circuit on their feet and cheering. Obviously the fan favourite being local man Johnston but the reception that Hicky got on taking the win was of course enthusiastic and respectful. How could it not be ? The man is on absolute fire!
Lee Johnston took one step higher on the podium than his previous best of the day, taking the second spot and Conor Cummins secured himself another third place. Davey Todd was fourth, Jamie Coward fifth and Michael Sweeney sixth.
Peter Hickman wins on Saturday 10th August 2019 : 4
I’m over the the moon! The conditions were terrible really but it was a fantastic race with Joe (Loughlin). On the last lap he went deep into the chicane and I took advantage. It’s fantastic, I’m really chuffed. – Peter Hickamn
Race 7 : Around a Pound Superbike Race :
Could it happen? Peter Hickman already earned the 3/3 in the Supersport class, could he get 3/3 in the superbikes? We know he has already done the 6/6 – but could a record 7/7 be a possibility?
It could. It was. It is. Seven wins out of seven for Peter Hickman came in the UGP Around A Pound Superbike Feature Race and it was another dominant, record breaking and classy display from Hicky.
Hickman took the victory from Dean Harrison by a comfortable 6.849 seconds.
Conor Cummins took the third spot for his fifth podium of the 2019 Ulster Grand Prix.
Davey Tood took fourth, privateer Jamie Coward finished off a great UGP with a fifth and Derek Shiels again right in the mix in sixth.
Peter Hickman wins on Saturday 10th August 2019 : 5
Peter Hickman Total wins at the 2019 Ulster Grand Prix : 7
“It feels mega – what a week it has been. The has been phenomenal and the bike faultless. I look at my Superbike think what a lucky rider I am. I’m over the moon to win every race.” – Peter Hickman
No Speedhive Results Available : Will be updated if / when available.