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Michael Dunlop is the latest of what is undoubtedly the most successful – but also infamous – pilot saga in the entire history of motorcycling.
“They have no fucking idea what road motorcycling means to riders.”Michael once said.
The saga of the ‘road races’
Any good fan of this sport will know the four Dunlops, especially the mythical Joey dunlop, which still holds, after almost 20 years since its unfortunate disappearance, the record for victories in the Tourist Trophy, with a total of 26 victories on the Isle of Man. Joey he lost his life in the year 2000, in a ‘road race’ (of course) far from home, in Estonia.
Joey’s little brother, Robert Dunlop, did not have the incredible record of the first, although he achieved 5 victories in the Isle of Man and up to 15 in the North West 200. Father of brothers William and Michael -also pilots- his children saw how Robert lost his life during the trainings of the North West 200 from 2008, test in which both brothers also participated.
William Dunlop he was the eldest of Robert’s sons. He never achieved a TT victory, although he did achieve some podiums and several successes at the NorthWest 200 and at the Ulster GP. William met his death this past summer in one of the lesser known road races, the Skerries GP, celebrated in Ireland.
“It’s great to live life on the edge all the time. I don’t care about the risk, and I guess that’s what it’s all about… Maybe it would change if I had a child, but not at the moment ”, said William years ago. “We are definitely selfish.”
The last Warrior
And Michael? The smallest of the Dunlops -and last survivor of the saga- he’s a very tough guy. On the day of their father’s accident, the two Dunlop brothers were also participating in the North West 200 of that fateful summer of 2008. After Robert’s accident, Michael ran, won the test, and then went to his father’s funeral.. A year later he achieved his first triumph in the Tourist Trophy, in the Supersport category. And yes, there he cried …
With his three triumphs last year on the Island, Michael Dunlop has a total of 18 and he is the third most victorious rider in the TT, after his uncle Joey (26) and the living myth John McGuinness (23).
After a few months of meditation, the stony Michael will return this year to road races and, of course, to his beloved Tourist Trophy, determined to increase his victories on the island circuit.
Philip Neill, Tyco BMW Team Principal, explained to BBC Sport that “It’s great for TAS Racing to sign another season with Michael and together with our partners BMW and Tyco we look forward to a successful season with the new BMW S1000RR.”
Neill confesses that, after what happened to William, both parties had to take time to reconsider:
“Our intention was always to continue with Michael. However, It was important that we both take some time to consider the best way to face 2019, and we look forward to announcing more details soon. ”
Thus, the last Dunlop warrior will continue to maintain the banner of his family, now alone, although that may not be understood from the outside:
“I do not expect them to judge my life, because I do not judge theirs”, commented Michael Dunlop a few years ago. “I don’t care what people think or what the press writes, because they have no fucking idea what road motorcycling means to riders.”
It is of another race …
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