Ian Hutchinson dominates Ulster GP meeting
Images by Jon Jessop
Bingley Bullet Ian Hutchinson stole the show at the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix with four wins, the man of the meeting crown and a blistering new lap record of 134.089mph.
The 37 year-old won the opening Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Superstock race and followed it up with a win in the second Barron Transport Services Supersport outing and a stunning James Jamieson Construction/McKinstry Skip Hire and Around A Pound Superbike double as Dundrod was treated to seven stellar races across all classes.
Track conditions were the best of the week but it still seemed that Bruce Anstey’s 2010 lap record would remain untouched for another year, and then on the final lap of the final race of the day Hutchinson laid down a new benchmark at the World’s Fastest Road Race.
Before that however, the day began with the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Superstock race and after a close battle with Michael Dunlop, Hutchinson sealed the win, with Dan Kneen in third. At that stage it seemed then that the rest of the day would be a continuation of their battle at the TT, but Hutchinson was only warming up.
The second race was the Centra Whitemountain Service Station Supersport and Hutchinson added to his podium tally with second place, finishing just behind the ‘flying kiwi’ Bruce Anstey after another great battle between the two. Conor Cummins, Dean Harrison and Dan Kneen rounded out the top five.
Immediately after the Supersport race came the Ulster Speed Promotions Lightweight class and it was Neil Kernohan who was victorious followed by Davy Morgan and newcomer Daryll Tweed, who marked his Dundrod debut with an impressive performance and top 400cc machine.
In the Ulster Speed Promotions Ultralightweight class meanwhile, Christian Elkin continued the form he showed in the Plant Lubrication NI Dundrod 150 with another dominant win ahead of Sam Wilson and Paul Robinson.
Race four was the first Superbike encounter and after a thrilling Superpole session earlier in the day it was Bruce Anstey who started on pole for the James Jamieson Construction/McKinstry Skip Hire Superbike race ahead of Michael Dunlop. The Superpole qualifying, the first of its kind in road racing, saw each of the top 10 riders from Superbike practice battle it out over one individual flying lap, but it was only a taster of what was to come in the race.
Hutchinson, Anstey and Dunlop fought hard over seven laps with all three jostling for the lead in what was a classic Dundrod battle, and it was once again Hutchinson who took the victory by just 0.273 of a second.
Race five saw the Barron Transport Services Supersport race and it was William Dunlop who took an early lead, much to the delight of the crowd. The local favourite looked set to take the win but then in Quarry Bends on the final lap, Hutchinson made his move and Dunlop had no time to respond, finishing ahead of a disappointed Dunlop. It was Peter Hickman who rounded off the podium after his own late move on Bruce Anstey.
The Maxwell Freight Services Supertwins were next and it was one of the most hotly contested races of the day with the top six covered by less than three seconds at the line. Daniel Cooper took a well-deserved win ahead of Derek Sheils, James Cowton, Paul Jordan, Derek McGee and Adam McLean.
Last but not least it was the Around a Pound Superbike race for one last Dundrod showdown. Hutchinson, Anstey and Dunlop were once again in the mix, as all three gave everything to claim their place on the podium, but Hutchinson was simply too good. Dunlop had led after Hutchy missed a gear, but he recovered quickly.
After six laps he took his fourth win of the day and the new title of the world’s fastest road racer.
Speaking after the final race Hutchinson said: “We’ve worked really hard with the time we’ve had and my bikes have been phenomenal today. When I was leading at the start I made a mistake but as soon as I started the last lap I just dug deep and tried to pull a gap. It’s brilliant to get four here, I’ve done three in a day before, but this is pretty amazing.”
It was the highlight of what turned out to be a day of records at the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix, as American racer Patricia Fernandez became the fastest ever female racer at Dundrod with her 118.264 lap, while Peter Hickman clocked 199.8mph in the speed trap, the fastest ever.