Last updated on February 6, 2024
Everyone knows the Isle of Man TT, right? But did you know that Northern Ireland also has a long motorbike racing tradition?
The most successful road racer in the world was born here, who won the Isle of Man TT 26 times, among others. We are talking about Joe Dunlop.
So let’s follow in the footsteps of Joe Dunlop and turn to motorbike racing in Northern Ireland today.
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The North West 200 Race Week Festival
This is an international road race in the North West of Ireland and it is Ireland’s largest outdoor event with around 100,000 people attending each year!
Check out this Youtube video: NORTH WEST 200 Supertwin Race Recap 2022
There is also a great fringe programme with stunt shows, music and fireworks, classic cars and much more….
The North West 200 races run from 9-13 May 2023 and the circuit links the towns of Portstewart, Portrush and Coleraine. There are 8 races in several classes.
Incidentally, the North West 200 gets its name from the fact that it was originally over 200 miles, more than 300km! This made it much longer than the Isle of Man TT! Link to today’s circuit.
All information can be found on the official website www.northwest200.org.
The Ulster Grand Prix
The Ulster Grand Prix also has a very long racing tradition. The last one took place in 2019. After that, there were not only Covid but also other problems, including financial problems.
Those now seem to have been sorted out and it is confirmed, from 2023 there will be another Ulster Grand Prix, from 28 to 19 August 2023, and it will be run by the Dundrod Club. I can’t find any details about 2023 on the Ulster Grand Prix page yet, but keep an eye on the page, I’m sure they’ll be coming soon.
To get you in the mood check out this youtube: HICKMAN VS JOHNSTON – BEST LAP DUNDROD HAS EVER SEEN? – Ulster Grand Prix 2019
The Joe Dunlop Memorial
While you’re there, why not pay Joe a visit – his memorial is in his birthplace of Ballymoney in the Joe Dunlop Memorial Garden.
There is also a memorial to Robert Dunlop, Joe’s brother and 5-time winner of the IOM TT and 15-time winner of the North West 200!
Combine with a motorbike holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland
It would be a shame to arrive with a rental car just for the races.
Much better: rent a motorbike, do a round trip through Ireland and Northern Ireland and combine it with one of the races! Cool?
The race takes place in the immediate vicinity of the picturesque Causeway Coast. Not far away is the beautiful North Antrim Coastal Route (from Torr Head almost to Belfast). The Mizen Head Loop and the Glens of the North West Coast are also beautiful to ride.
You can combine this with a loop through the North of Ireland or even travel once around the island of Ireland. Ireland is part of the EU, while Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but that’s not a problem, the green border is completely open.
Motorbike Hire in Ireland
Our own motorbike rental company, easycruiser.tours, is located south of Dublin. You can fly to Dublin quickly and cheaply from many German airports. We also offer nice guest rooms (www.the-view-accommodation.ie).
From our motorbike rental you can quickly reach the southern Wild Atlantic Way, or Galway if you only want to do the northern loop.
Touring tips can be found on our website, as well as motorbikes, prices and even more information. See: www.easycruiser.tours.
Of course, you can also come with your own motorbike. But that takes a long time, regardless of the route, and is not cheap because of the ferries. I speak from several experiences…
Whatever you decide, the Irish island is absolutely worth a trip! For racing fans, you can combine it with a race, but even without a race, you’ll love it here – for sure!
Have a great Ireland and Northern Ireland motorbike holiday!
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Photo credits Cover photo: Photo by Dominik Lalic on Unsplash