Dunlop follows in his dad’s footsteps
William Dunlop made it two wins on the day and emulated his late father Robert, who was the last man to complete a 125/250cc winning double in 1993.
Dunlop junior won a pedestrian four-lap McKendry Fabrication 125cc race by over seven seconds from Chris Palmer and 21-year old Oliver Linsdell with Mark Lunney registering his second fourth place finish on the day.
Dunlop had started the race from second place on the grid and by Ballysally on the opening lap he had taken the lead from Palmer, pole position man Davy Lemon and Linsdell.
Three miles later at Metropole he had opened a two and a half second gap on his pursuers and from then on gradually extended his race winning lead, which was nine seconds at one stage, riding the Flynn–KRP Honda normally ridden in the British 125cc championship by Ryan Saxelby.
Afterwards Dunlop said: “The bike was working well and all I had to do was ride it and get it to the finish. Once I got in front I thought one or two of the guys would follow me, but I managed to break the tow and pull away.
“It’s not easy to ride on your own at the front and on the last lap you hear every little noise the engine makes and you just wonder if you are going to make it to the finish.
“The crowd were waving, but I didn’t want to wave back as I just kept the concentration up and made sure I finished the race. From having nothing but bad luck here in the past it is terrific to put that behind me. I’m really happy with two wins.”
For Palmer, from Castletown in the Isle of Man, this was his third runner-up finish in the class and he must be wondering what he has to do to get a win with time running out for the 47-year old. In 2002 he lost out to Ian Lougher and last year it was Michael Wilcox who denied Palmer.
Stephen Savelkouls finally took fifth half a second ahead of last year’s third place finisher James Ford.
However the day belonged to Dunlop, putting the new generation of the legendary Ballymoney family firmly back on top of the podium at the North West 200.