Belfast Telegraph

Three Dunlops on the podium as now Michael is made a freeman

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

Michael Dunlop has more than lived up to his legendary surname on the track.

Now Michael Dunlop has matched the exploits of his late father and uncle, Robert and Joey, away from the circuit by becoming a freeman of his hometown.

Ballymoney Borough Council yesterday made the 24-year-old the fifth person to be awarded the honorary title – and the third member of his family.

His father became a freeman of the Co Antrim town in 2007, one year before the 47-year-old was killed during a practice session for the North West 200.

Michael went on to win the event his father died practising for just days later.

Both Michael and his brother William, also a successful rider, were at their father's side during his freeman ceremony seven years ago.

But yesterday it was Michael's turn under the spotlight, surrounded by friends, family and fans.

He said he was humbled to have received the accolade.

He added: "I am very proud. Only four people have received this honour and two of those are my family.

"I am absolutely made up to be the fifth."

DUP councillor Bill Kennedy, himself an ardent road race fan, proposed the motion during a meeting of Ballymoney Borough Council last year.

He said: "Michael has shown determination and commitment and has continued the Dunlop tradition, bringing great honour to the borough."

Councillors unanimously backed the motion to grant him the title which, among other privileges, allows him to herd sheep through the centre of the town on a Saturday morning.

The freeman title was conferred on Joey, known to race fans as the King of the Roads, in 1993.

The former world champion was killed during a race in Estonia in 2000 at the age of 48.

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