The legendary Ulster Grand Prix might have been postponed again for 2021, but the iconic Dundrod circuit just outside of Belfast in Northern Ireland has been the scene of success for many Kawasaki riders over the years.
First held in 1922 on the older 20.5. mile Old Clady Circuit, the current 7.401 Dundrod course was introduced in 1953. Since then, it has established itself as the world’s fastest road race, with the current record an incredible 136.415mph average lap!
With such an illustrious history, the event has seen lots of success for Kawasaki-powered riders. In recent years, Dean Harrison has taken his Ninja ZX-10R to the top step in the Superbike class while the likes of Christian Elkin, Dan Cooper, Derek McGee and Ivan Lintin have all taken honours in the Supertwin category.
Prior to that, victories across the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock races came at the hands of Ryan Farquhar, Connor Cummins, Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson. A number of these wins came from the McAdoo team, and with no race for 2021, we thought we would catch up with McAdoo Kawasaki Team Manager Jason McAdoo
“The McAdoo team has a long history with the Ulster Grand Prix, first racing there in 1983 – our first year as a team – with Paul Cranston.
It’s a special circuit – so fast and flowing but with all the hallmarks of a real road race. The event was originally Northern Ireland’s world championship round and always had that special feel about it. The legendary Joey Dunlop won his five F1 world titles with the Ulster GP as one of the rounds, as did Brian Reid in his F2 championships years, who later raced for the McAdoo team in 1993 and 1994.
We’ve competed there with many riders over the years and got our first podium with Alan Irwin. Our first wins at the Ulster GP came with Bob Jackson in 1997 and it was a special feeling to say the least. Bob was fantastic around Dundrod winning many races on the circuit – another highlight was pushing Philip McCallen all the way on our ZX-7RR Kawasaki in the 1997?Superbike race before an exhaust problem saw him settle for second.
We went on to have success at the circuit with Ryan Farquhar but perhaps the most exciting days came in 2006 when Ian Hutchinson was riding the McAdoo Kawasaki bikes.
‘Hutchy’ rode superbly all week and smashed the 600cc lap record at 125.433mph on the McAdoo Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. This achievement was eclipsed though when he went on to set a new outright world record lap of 130.828mph on the McAdoo Ninja ZX-10R – a speed which labelled Dundrod as the fastest circuit in the world.
This record had been broken before we returned to the Ulster in 2009, this time with Manxman Conor Cummins riding for the team. Conor was flying and with TT podiums that year was confident of more success at?Dundrod. His confidence was well-founded when Conrod again gave the team a new world record lap of 133.28mph, going on to win two Superbike races on the ZX-10R. It was a brilliant event for us, especially as Kawasaki were celebrating 25 years of the ‘Ninja’ brand and leaving there again as world record holders was a fitting celebration.
The circuit lends itself to fantastic racing with so much slipstreaming and high speed corners. We’ve been involved in some fabulous races there including Michael Dunlop and more recently the late James Cowton who scored another podium for us on the Kawasaki 650 Supertwin in 2016.
Adam McLean won the Supertwin race at Dundrod in 2018 and, hopefully, we can have more success there in the future. The event has so much history and support always attracting huge crowds – we can’t wait to get back there in 2022.”
We can’t wait for the 2022 Road Racing season to get underway and we can’t wait to return to the Ulster Grand Prix to see how our Team Green riders and teams get on!