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It was way back in 1963 that Mike Hailwood set the first ever 100mph lap of the Dundrod circuit, some six years after the mark was achieved at both the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT – however, with the circuit layout remaining unchanged, it has since become the fastest circuit currently in use anywhere in the world with the outright lap record now standing at just over a staggering 134mph.
Although the North West 200 remained the fastest road race during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the gradual introduction of more and more chicanes – something that only happened for at the Ulster in 1992 and 2000-2001 – slowed its progress and by the turn of the Millennium, Dundrod had taken over at the top of the pile.
With the first 120mph lap going the way of Joey Dunlop in 1984, the landmark year proved to be 2003 when Adrian Archibald set a new outright lap record for the course at June’s Dundrod 150 races. The lap was significant as it finally bettered Tom Herron’s lap of 127.63mph at the 1978 North West 200 which, up until Archibald’s stellar effort, was the fastest ever witnessed at a UK road race.
Since then, the lap speeds have continued to increase with the fast, flowing and smooth Dundrod course playing host to the best road racers in the world. Safety improvements, namely the removal of countless trees, fences and hedges have helped too and Guy Martin had the honour of setting the first official 130mph lap in 2006 although John McGuinness had actually achieved the speed in qualifying earlier that week.
26 riders have now lapped in excess of 130mph with Ian Hutchinson holding the current outright lap record at 134.089mph after finally breaking Bruce Anstey’s six year old lap record of 133.977mph in 2016. Weather conditions meant the mark stood for so long and although 2016 didn’t see ideal conditions, four out of the five quickest ever laps were all set this year and now the 134mph barrier has been broken, we can expect even quicker laps in the years ahead.
|1.||Ian Hutchinson||1000 BMW||2016UGPSuperbike-2||3m18.704s||134.089mph|
|2.||Michael Dunlop||1000 BMW||2016UGPSuperbike-2||3m18.866s||133.979mph|
|3.||Bruce Anstey||1000 Suzuki||2010UGPSuperbike-2||3m18.870s||133.977mph|
|4.||Peter Hickman||1000 Kawasaki||2016UGPSuperbike-1||3m18.996s||133.982mph|
|5.||Conor Cummins||1000 Honda||2016UGPSuperbike-2||3m19.051s||133.855mph|
|6.||Guy Martin||1000 Honda||2010UGPSuperbike-2||3m19.540s||133.527mph|
|7.||Keith Amor||1000 BMW||2010UGPSuperbike-2||3m19.678s||133.435mph|
|8.||Cameron Donald||1000 Suzuki||2010UGPSuperbike-2||3m19.729s||133.401mph|
|=||Dean Harrison||1000 Kawasaki||2010UGPSuperbike-2||3m19.729s||133.401mph|
|10.||Daniel Kneen||1000 Yamaha||2010UGPSuperbike-1||3m19.770s||133.373mph|
|11.||Gary Johnson||1000 Honda||2009UGPSuperbike-1||3m20.137s||133.129mph|
|12.||Lee Johnston||1000 BMW||2015UGPSuperbike-1||3m20.413s||132.945mph|
|13.||William Dunlop||1000 Suzuki||2014Dundrod150||3m20.716s||132.745mph|
|14.||Ryan Farquhar||1000 Kawasaki||2009Dundrod150||3m21.235s||132.402mph|
|15.||John McGuinness||1000 Honda||2007Dundrod150||3m22.282s||131.717mph|
|16.||Steve Mercer||1000 Kawasaki||2016UGPSuperbike-2||3m22.721s||131.432mph|
|17.||Derek Sheils||1000 Suzuki||2016UGPSuperbike-1||3m22.766s||131.403mph|
|18.||Ivan Lintin||1000 Kawasaki||2015Dundrod150||3m23.278s||131.072mph|
|19.||Ian Lougher||1000 Kawasaki||2012UGPSuperstock||3m23.578s||130.873mph|
|20.||Jamie Hamilton||1000 Kawasaki||2013UGPSuperbike-2||3m24.018s||130.596mph|
|21.||Raymond Porter||1000 Honda||2006GPSuperbike-1||3m24.152s||130.510mph|
|22.||Russ Mountford||1000 Kawasaki||2015Dundrod150||3m24.514s||130.279mph|
|23.||Michael Pearson||1000 Kawasaki||2010UGPSuperbike-2||3m24.595s||130.228mph|
|24.||David Johnson||1000 BMW||2015UGPSuperstock||3m24.734s||130.139mph|
|25.||Adrian Archibald||1000 Suzuki||2009UGPSuperbike-2||3m24.765s||130.120mph|
Two riders currently have the honour of lapping at more than 130mph on their debut, Dean Harrison and Peter Hickman, but one of the most impressive performances from a debutante came in 1999 from, perhaps unsurprisingly, David Jefferies.
Riding the V&M Yamaha R1, DJ not only set a stunning newcomer’s lap of 126.858mph, he also broke the outright lap record and won the second Superbike race!! That lap stood for 11 years before it was broken by Dan Kneen and that year in 2009 was particularly strong for first timers with Kneen, Aussie David Johnson, Brian McCormack, Derek Brien and Dan Stewart all recording impressive speeds.
Two years after Kneen had lapped at 129.254mph, Harrison added his name to the record books when he became the first ever newcomer to break the 130mph barrier. Riding the RC Express Racing Kawasaki, Harrison had already shone at that year’s TT and he brought that form to Dundrod with a series of top ten finishes.
However, he only held the title of best newcomer for two years himself as Hickman, just as he had done at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT, set the fastest ever newcomers lap at the Ulster in 2014. His best lap was 131.198mph and, just a year later he turned that potential into reality when he won the second Superbike race.
The 2016 meeting saw Daniel Hegarty become the sixth fastest newcomer ever with the TT Privateer’s Champion lapping at almost 128mph as he posted a series of top twelve finishes.
It was in 1979 when Joey Dunlop won his first races at the Ulster Grand Prix, victory coming in the Superbike and 500cc races, and just as he did at practically everywhere he rode, he never stopped winning around Dundrod. With wins across the classes, Dunlop was still winning some 20 years later and although 1999 proved to be his last ever appearance around the 7.4-mile course, yet another win was taken in the Superbike class – making it 24 in total – whilst he was also on the podium in the second Superbike, and 125cc races too.
Onboard lap with Ian Louger…
The closest anyone has got to Dunlop’s record total is Ian Lougher who recorded 18 wins between 1992 and 2013, a mammoth 21-year period. Like Dunlop, Lougher had great versatility and the Welshman won races in the 125cc, 250cc, Supersport, Superbike, Superstock and Production categories.
Next up with 14 wins is Phillip McCallen who achieved all these victories in just a six year period, blazing a trail before him like he had done at both the North West 200 and TT. He’s three ahead of Guy Martin and Bruce Anstey who have 11 wins apiece and who are both still winning today, Kiwi Anstey having taken the feature Superbike race for the last two years.
Three Irish legends – Brian Reid, Robert Dunlop and Ryan Farquhar – all have nine wins whilst three motorcycle greats come after them with Stanley Woods, Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood all having won at Dundrod on seven occasions. Local heroes Ray McCullough and William Dunlop also have seven wins to their name as does another Dundrod favourite Bob Jackson.
|1.||Joey Dunlop||24||1979 – 1999|
|2.||Ian Lougher||18||1992 – 2013|
|3.||Phillip McCallen||14||1991 – 1996|
|4.||Bruce Anstey||12||2003 – Present|
|5.||Guy Martin||11||2006 – Present|
|6.||Brian Reid||9||1983 – 1992|
|=||Robert Dunlop||9||1990 – 2007|
|=||Ryan Farquhar||9||2002 – 2012|
|=||Ian Hutchinson||9||2007 – present|
|10.||Stanley Woods||7||1924 – 1939|
|=||Mike Hailwood||7||1959 – 1967|
|=||Giacomo Agostini||7||1967 – 1970|
|=||Ray McCullough||7||1971 – 1982|
|=||Bob Jackson||7||1979 – 1997|
|=||William Dunlop||7||2007 – present|
|16.||John Surtees||6||1955 – 1960|
|=||John Williams||6||1973 – 1978|
|=||Michael Dunlop||6||2011 – present|
|=||Bill Swallow||6||1994 – 2000|
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Joey Dunlop tops the charts for the most number of podiums taken at the Ulster Grand Prix having taken 44 between 1976 and 1999. However, it’s a lot closer in this particular chart and although he again has to settle for second, Ian Lougher is only one behind the Ballymoney rider with 43 to his name, the first coming in 1991 and the last in 2013.
There’s a big jump to the next highest total with Bruce Anstey some 15 behind Lougher with a total of 28 and although he’s still competing, it’s highly unlikely he’ll get near to the top two. Ryan Farquhar hasn’t competed at the Ulster since 2012 but his mastery of Dundrod can be seen in his 23 podiums and that puts him one place, and one podium, ahead of Guy Martin who would surely have added more to his collection in 2015 had he not crashed out spectacularly in the Dundrod 150 Superbike race.
Jason Griffiths may not feature high on the winner’s list but he does on the podium chart with the Welshman having record an impressive 21 rostrums in a ten-year period and that puts him one ahead of the still competing William Dunlop who took another rostrum in the second Supersport race of 2016.
As expected, the list is packed with household, legendary names and both Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop climbed higher up the chart after the 2016 meeting. Hutchinson’s five podiums from his five races saw him leap up to eighth overall, just one behind Griffiths and Dunlop.
Michael Dunlop is only one place further back on 19 podiums. This puts him level with Phillip McCallen, Tony Rutter and his dad Robert. Rutter’s tally is also impressive given fewer races being held in the 1970s whilst Robert Dunlop’s total includes no less than ten in the 125cc class.
Finally, Conor Cummins edged closer to moving into this chart as he took his tenth UGP podium at this year’s meeting after taking third in the opening Supersport race.
|1.||Joey Dunlop||44||1976 – 1999|
|2.||Ian Louger||43||1991 – 2013|
|3.||Bruce Anstey||25||2002 – Present|
|4.||Ryan Farquhar||23||1997 – 2012|
|5.||Guy Martin||22||2005 – Present|
|6.||Jason Griffiths||21||1994 – 2004|
|7.||William Dunlop||21||2005 – Present|
|8.||Ian Hutchinson||20||2006 – Present|
|9.||Tony Rutter||19||1974 – 1984|
|=||Robert Dunlop||19||1990 – 2007|
|=||Phillip McCallen||19||1989- 1996|
|=||Michael Dunlop||19||2006 – Present|
|13.||Brian Reid||17||1982 – 1993|
|14.||Adrian Archibald||15||2000 – 2012|
|15.||Iain Duffus||13||1992 – 2003|
|16.||Ray McCullough||12||1969 – 1982|
|17.||John Hartle||11||1955 – 1968|
|=||Mike Hailwood||11||1959 1967|
1996 – Phillip McCallen (Superbike 1 and 2, Supersport 600cc, 250cc 1 and 2)
Just like the North West 200, only one man has won five races in a day and it was again Phillip McCallen who achieved the feat, this time in 1996. Four years after he’d taken all before him on the Causeway Coast, he did the same at Dundrod winning both Superbike races, both 250cc races and the Supersport 600cc encounter.
The closest anyone has come to McCallen’s five-timer is Guy Martin and Ian Hutchinson who won four races in a day respectively in 2006 and 2016 – strangely enough, these multiple wins came at ten-year intervals, 1996, 2006 and 2016.
Riding the AIM Racing Yamaha’s, Martin won both Superbike races and both Supersport races with his only defeat coming in the Superstock class where he finished a close second to Bruce Anstey. Hutchinson, meanwhile, had his day just this August taking both Superbike races and the Superstock race on the Tyco BMW’s and the second Supersport encounter on Keith Flint’s Team Traction Control Yamaha. He took second in his fifth ride, just losing out to Bruce Anstey in the opening Supersport race.
Incidentally, the first rider to win three races in a day was John Williams who took victory in the 1973 250cc, 350cc and 500cc races – a year later, he became the first man to do it at the North West 200 too.
In total, eleven riders have won three more races in a day :
John Williams (1973)
Tom Herron (1978)
Joey Dunlop (1984, 1985 and 1995)
Phillip McCallen (1993, 1994 and 1996)
Ian Lougher (2002 and 2005)
Darran Lindsay (2002)
Bruce Anstey (2004)
Guy Martin (2006 and 2013)
Ian Hutchinson (2010)
Michael Dunlop (2011)
Lee Johnston (2015)
The current lap records at the Ulster Grand Prix…
|Outright||Ian Hutchinson||Tyco BMW S1000RR||2016||3’18.704||134.089mph|
|Superbike||Ian Hutchinson||Tyco BMW S1000RR||2016||3’18.704||134.089mph|
|Supersport 600cc||Lee Johnston||Burdens/ECC Triumph 675||2015||3’26.681||128.913mph|
|Superstock||Lee Johnston||Burdens/ ECR BMW S1000R||2015||3’20.643||132.793mph|
|Supertwins||Ivan Lintin||McKingstry Racing Kawasaki ER6 650cc||2014||3’44.398||118.735mph|
|Lightweight 250cc||Darran Lindsay||Roy Hanna Motors 250 Honda||2006||3’38.634||121.866mph|
|Ultra-Lightweight 125cc||William Dunlop||PJ Flynn 125 Honda||2009||3’55.017||113.370mph|
|Moto 3||Christian Elkin||Wylie Racing Honda 250||2015||4’06.315||108.170mph|
|Supersport 400cc||Jason Griffiths||DTR Fowler Yamaha FZR400||2003||3’58.430||111.748mph|
|Challenge Superbike||Peter Hickman||Ice Valley by Motorsave BMW S100R||2014||3’24.303||130.414mph|
|National 750cc||Lee Johnston||Millsport Racing Honda CBR600RR||2012||3’36.269||123.198mph|
|Fastest Female||Patricia Fernandez||Magic Bullet Yamaha YZF-36||2016||3’45.292||118.264mph|
The current race records at the Ulster Grand Prix…
|Category||Rider(s)||Bike||Year||Race Time||Av Speed|
|Superbike (8 laps)||Conor Cummins||McAdoo Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R||2009||26’32.461||131.373mph|
|Superbike (7 laps)||Ian Hutchinson||Tyco BMW S1000RR||2016||23’23.980||132.522mph|
|Superbike (6 laps)||Ian Hutchinson||Tyco BMW S1000RR||2016||20’04.228||132.379mph|
|Superbike (5 laps)||Bruce Anstey||Relentless by TAS Racing Suzuki GSXR1000||2010||16’45.615||132.029mph|
|Supersport (6 laps)||Lee Johnston||Burdens/ ECR Triumph 675||2015||20’52.997||127.227mph|
|Supersport (5 laps)||Michael Dunlop||Street Sweep Yamaha YFZ-R6||2011||17’37.949||125.498mph|
|Superstock (6 laps)||Lee Johnston||Burdens/ ECR BMW S1000R||2015||20’14.991||131.206mph|
|Superstock (5 laps)||Ian Hutchinson||Padgetts Honda CBR1000RR||2010||16’59.711||130.204mph|
|Supertwins (5 laps)||Lee Johnston||ECC Pirtek ER6 650cc Kawasaki||2014||18’54.260||118.568mph|
|Supertwins (4 laps)||Ryan Farquhar||KMR ER6 650cc Kawasaki||2012||15’07.279||116.972mph|
|250cc (6 laps)||Darran Lindsay||Roy Hanna Motors 350 Honda||2006||22’07.158||120.127mph|
|125cc (5 laps)||Ian Lougher||Barnes/Jackson Racing 125 Honda||2009||12’59.165||110.719mph|
|Moto 3 (5 laps)||Christian Elkin||Wylie Racing Honda 250||2015||20’41.173||106.972mph|
|Supersport 40cc||Iain Duffus||Crossan Motorcycles Kawasaki ZXR400||2003||20’08.250||109.898mph|
Information provided by Phil Wain.
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