In what must have been on the hardest years of his life, Michael Dunlop is ready to take on the TT Races again this year.
The Dunlop dynasty is held in such high regard around world, his father Robert and his uncle Joey Dunlop set the racing world on fire with their fearless rides across numerous courses, winnings several accolades at the TT and more. Racing courses through the veins of the Dunlop family and Michael is no exception.
Michael tragically lost his best friend, older brother and fellow racer, William in a road racing accident last July at the Skerries 100 in Dublin. This is the third tragedy in eighteen years to hit the Dunlop dynasty. Michael’s uncle Joey was killed at a road race in Estonia in 2000, followed by his beloved father Robert who sustained fatal injuries at the North West 200 ten years ago. Such is the love for the sport, the day after their father died, both Michael and William readied their bikes for a race which Michael went onto win. He dedicated his bittersweet win to his late father and quietly left to be with his family.
It is hard to comprehend why Michael continues in the sport that has robbed him of so much, but being a Dunlop is a very unique experience that no one else can understand.
Michael has had a very illustrious career for a mere youngster. At just 30-years-old he already has eighteen TT titles under his belt, which is seventeen more than his uncle Joey had at that age. Joey still holds the record for the most TT wins at 26 but with Michael’s tenacity and dedication could easily him eclipse that in the next few years.
A few months ago he spoke to a BBC reporter but made it clear he couldn’t talk about his brother saying “”I deal with that in my own personal way. I am staying away from that kind of thing. I made a decision to carry on, on my own behalf.”
“Racing always has been in my life; motorbikes are what I’m used to. We’re ready to rock and roll.” He spoke with great pride of the Dunlop dynasty saying;
“My dad and Joey made the name – it’s worldwide. A lot of people are famous in their own town or in their own country but I’ve seen Joey and my dad’s stuff in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong.
“The name is massive and you need a big set of shoulders to carry it too. Everyone out there seems to know us one way or another and we’ve done a good job of it.
“I think I could have done a lot more in a lot of areas but yeah, we always try to strive for more. I’ll come back and try to keep the name somewhere along the line somewhere up near the top and try to push on.”
Michael is currently on the Isle of Man preparing for next week’s TT race. During the first practice he clocked up the second fastest time in Supersport and Supertwin classes on Sunday. He really wants to win the big one – the Pokerstars Senior TT. Last year he could only manage fourth after suffering a 30-second pit-lane speeding penalty.
But he told the media recently “ “I don’t think anyone will be prepared to push as hard as me. The target this year is to go after the Superbike and Senior TT wins. Even though we have a new Tyco BMW Superbike this year, I’m with the same team for a second year and we should be in a good place.”
We wish Michael the very best of luck at this year’s TT!
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