The Launch of the McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week, hosted by Lisburn City Council, took place this week (30th July) at Lagan Valley Island in Lisburn.
Bike Week 2012, which is the 90th year of the Ulster Grand Prix, will run between 6 - 11 August in Dundrod, Co. Antrim. The main events are the Topaz Dundrod 150 racing on Thursday 9th August and the McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix racing on Saturday 11th August.
Helping to launch the event were local rider, Michael Dunlop and Manx rider, Dan Kneen as well as event organisers, Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club and sponsors McKinstry Skip Hire, Lisburn City Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Compering the evening was racing commentator, Alan Drysdale.
This year will see world-famous and international riders from across the UK and Ireland take part in the event's 90th showing.
Mayor of Lisburn City, Alderman William Leathem, said that he was looking forward to the event now in its 90th year. "The launch of the 2012 Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week begins the countdown to next week's packed programme. The Dundrod Circuit is regarded as one of the best motorbike circuits in the world and we are all looking forward to a wonderful week of racing.
"Our congratulations must go to the Dundrod Club whose efforts have ensured that the Ulster Grand Prix has continued and grown over the years and we also extend our thanks to the event's sponsors, McKinstry Skip Hire and to the many volunteers who contribute in no small way to the success of the event," he added.
The Chairman of Lisburn City Council's Leisure Services Committee, Cllr Thomas Beckett, said: "There are not many events that can boast a 90-year history. A great deal of planning and effort has gone into ensuring that this year's event is as safe, as interesting and as thrilling as can be. The Council has invested in the Ulster Grand Prix over the years and we have regularly met the event organisers and the many people that make the event the success it is. I would like to put on record my thanks to everyone who has helped shape the McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week to be the event it is today."
Clerk of the Course at the Dundrod & District Motorcycle Club, Noel Johnston said; "I'm happy to announce that we have good entries in all categories, with 16 countries represented, it is great to know that the Ulster Grand Prix is putting Dundrod on the global map.
"There are also 40 newcomers to the race, the most in my 11 years as Clerk of the Course, which is great news. It's heartening to know that there is a new generation of road racers coming through to keep our sport alive.
"Fans can also expect to see stars such as The Dunlops, Ryan Farquhar, Bruce Anstey, Guy Martin and Conor Cummins put on a great show at Dundrod next week. Come along and be a part of the action!" he added.
Eddie Rowan, Events Manager, NITB added; "The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is delighted to once again support the Ulster Grand Prix in 2012, a momentous year celebrating the event's 90th anniversary. It is indeed a highlight of the ni 2012, our time our place initiative.
"Events such as UGP help us to achieve our vision for a sustainable events future which successfully delivers for tourism. NITB is confident that this will be a truly unique and stand out event in this year's packed programme."
Pictured at the launch of the McKinstry Skip Hire Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week are (l-r) Mr Eddie Rowan, NITB; Manx Rider, Mr Dan Kneen; Mayor of Lisburn, Alderman William Leathem; local rider, Mr Michael Dunlop; Mr Noel Johnston, Dundrod & District Motorcycle Club; Councillor Thomas Beckett, Chairman of Lisburn City Council's Leisure Services Committee and Mr Mark McKinstry, McKinstry Skip Hire.