|Joey Dunlop Tribute from the TT Website
Extract Fom Sky Sports News
The death of Isle of Man TT legend Joey Dunlop
is a national tragedy for Northern Ireland. Along with Mary Peters and George
Best, Dunlop was one of the country's true sporting greats. Cathryn Curran
Joey Dunlops tragic death on Sunday during a
road race meeting in Tallinn, Estonia will stir silence across Northern
Ireland. In that part of the world, which has witnessed so much trouble over
the past 25-years, Joey Dunlop is a national hero, not only for motorbike
supporters but also throughout the whole community.
At a civic
reception in his hometown of Ballymoney earlier this month, to mark Joeys
success in claiming a 26th win at the Isle of Man TT, Sports Minister for
Northern Ireland, Michael McGimpsey said: There can hardly be anyone in
Northern Ireland who has not heard of Joey Dunlop. Seldom can a sportsman draw
so much support from right across the community, and this sense of togetherness
can only help Northern Ireland as we seek a brighter future for everyone.
In Ballymoney, a small town where visitors are greeted like lost
friends, there will be a feeling of great sadness. In the words of an
85-year-old man; just one of many hundreds of people who lined the streets to
give Joey a welcome during his visit earlier in the month: What can you
say about him hes just great. The best thing you can say about
Coming from this sleepy little town, which is an
hours drive from Belfast, it may be a wonder how Joey came to dominate
the world of TT. But, if you understand the geography of Northern Ireland,
youll know that Ballymoney neighbours Portrush, where the North West 200
takes place. To many people in Northern Ireland Joey Dunlop is the North West
At this years North West 200 Joey did not win, but his
appearance certainly drew in the crowds. But it is his success in the Isle of
Man that guaranteed his fame. If 1976 saw his debut in the Island, the
following year became even more memorable for it marked his first win in an
obscure race called the Jubilee TT.
The event was fitted in at the last
minute when the promoter realised there was a blank space owing to a major
shuffle in the races. It appeared to be a wide open event filled with a line-up
of unknown riders, and even after Dunlop cleared the line first, few who saw
him on that occasion could have imagined he would still be winning 19 years
later. Yet, year after year, record after record has gone Joeys way in
the Island. He became as much part of the island as the Manx cat and its banks.
It was his love of travelling that encouraged Joey to take part in the
race in Estonia. For the past few years Joey competed less at home so that he
could see other parts of the world. But, it is not only through racing that
Joey travelled across the sea. His work for charity was endless and is one of
the reasons he was awarded an OBE to add to his MBE. In trips to Bosnia,
Albania and Romania, Joey worked for children, persuading people at home to
give food and clothes. Setting off in his van he would personally deliver these
Away from the hustle and bustle of racing Joey Dunlop was a
devoted family man. Even whilst competing abroad he kept close contact with his
wife Linda and five children. His brother Robert was always nearby, as he too
is an accomplished motorcyclist.
At 48-years old, this shock death of a
man, familiarly known as the 'King of the Roads', who injected so much vitality
and enjoyment in to the lives of the Northern Ireland people will be felt
right across its community.
All of us at TT Website wish to extend
our sincerest and deepest sympathy to the family of William Joseph, The Legend
who's accomplishments will live forever.