ULSTER BECKONS FOR ANSTEY AND CUMMINS
This week sees the Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles team return to race action with the third International road race meeting of the year taking place – the Ulster Grand Prix.
The third of the ‘big three’ International road races to be held in the UK, the Ulster GP takes place on the high-speed Dundrod circuit, just outside Belfast, Northern Ireland, and it should be a tremendous week’s racing on what is the fastest road course still currently in use.
Valvoline Racing’s Bruce Anstey has held the official circuit lap record for an incredible six years with the flying Kiwi lapping at an average speed of 133.997mph in 2010, which to this day remains the fastest average lap speed of any road race in the world.
With Michael Dunlop obliterating the Isle of Man TT record with a lap of 133.962mph, Anstey will need to up the ante as this year’s Ulster Grand Prix gets underway next month if his lap is to remain the world’s fastest.
Just as he did at the Isle of Man TT, Anstey will race the RC213V-S MotoGP but this will be the first time he competitively rides it fully fit, after suffering bruising from a crash during practice at the TT. Anstey will ride the bike in Thursday’s Dundrod 150 Superbike race as well as in the two Superbike races on the main UGP race day on Saturday. In addition, he’ll also campaign the team’s Honda CBR600RR in the two Supersport races and the CBR1000RR Honda Fireblade in the Superstock race.
Like all of the International road races, Anstey has a tremendous record at the Ulster GP with no less than 11 wins and 25 podiums to his name, the latter the third highest of all time. Last year saw him win the feature Superbike race for the fourth time in his illustrious career whilst he also took victory in the Dundrod 150 Superbike race.
Joining Anstey in the Valvoline Racing colours will again be Conor Cummins with the Manxman contesting the Supersport and Superstock races for Clive Padgett’s Batley-based squad. The 30-year old had an excellent set of results at the TT on the CBR600RR and CBR1000RR Fireblade and the Ramsey-based rider is also a former outright lap record holder of Dundrod.
He too has an excellent record around the 7.4-mile circuit with 2015 seeing him take the runners-up spot in the second Superbike race. His career record at the UGP reads one win – in the 2009 feature Superbike race – and nine podiums and, like Anstey, he’ll be amongst the pre-race favourites coming into the event.
Bruce Anstey: “I wanted to beat my lap record last year as I thought the weather was good enough so I’ll definitely be trying again this year. Obviously I’m back with Padgett’s for the sixth year running and having the same team definitely gives me an advantage over those getting used to a new set-up. The other thing I have in my corner is experience. The young guys are getting quicker but the knowledge I have from so many years racing really helps, especially at a fast circuit like Dundrod. I love competing there; it’s a real close second to the Isle of Man for me. Such a fast, flowing circuit with flying corners and that’s what I like. I’m still really enjoying it and can’t wait to get back out there.”
“I’m really pleased that we’re able to bring the RCV to Dundrod and that I’ll get another run out on it before the season ends. It’s fantastic to ride and should handle the fast, flowing corners of the circuit with ease. I’m looking forward to riding the RCV at full fitness too. I got a bit knocked about and bruised with my off at the TT so this is my chance to get out there and do the bike justice.”
Conor Cummins: “I’m really looking forward to coming to the Ulster GP this year with Valvoline Racing by Padgetts. We had a solid enough set of results at the Isle of Man TT which has given us a base to work on heading into practice on Wednesday. I’m really enjoying working with Clive and the crew and love the Dundrod circuit so I’m confident we can get some good results – I’m definitely aiming for the podium.”
Clive Padgett, Team Principal: “The Ulster is one of our favourite meetings of the year and it’s one we always look forward to. With a mass start, it’s obviously different to the TT and with fast, close racing, it’s always a joy to be part of. Bruce is back to full fitness and can’t wait to get out on the RCV whilst having Conor on board again is great for all concerned so we’re quietly confident that we can get some good results. The organisers have done a great job with the safety side of things and whilst we all want the weather to be smiling on us it’s fair to say the meeting will be a cracker no matter what.”
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