Michael Dunlop is one of those riders you would like to have on any team.
He is a chip off the old block and on Saturday he showed the style of his father Robert when scoring a treble at the Tandragee 100.
This was Dunlop at his best and he was riding ‘out of his skin’ much the same way as he did at last year’s North West 200 when he came in at the last minute to win the 250cc class two days after Robert’s sad death in practice.
On Saturday we not only had Michael but his brother William in action and as one would expect they dominated most of the 125cc and 250cc races. However it wasn’t all plain sailing for William. He had radiator problems and never really got his act together.
Michael, on the other hand, led the 125 after William had done so on the first lap and after that it was plain sailing for this burly no-nonsense competitor from Ballymoney.
The 250cc race was much the same story and Michael led all the way to win from Davy Morgan.
But the highlight of the afternoon, in my view, was the 600cc race which was also won by Michael Dunlop. Here we had an encounter to savour. For virtually all of the six laps Michael Dunlop, Keith Amor and Ryan Farquhar were in close contention, split by just over a hairs breadth or so it seemed.
Michael Dunlop was always in second place as Amor piled on the pressure at the head of affairs but surprise after surprise, it was Dunlop who came through to take the chequered flag on the last lap and win from Amor and Farquhar.
So what had happened to Ryan? He finished the race well in arrears behind Amor and afterwards I spoke to him. He said his bike had gone down on power on the last lap and he had ‘no revs at all.’
Farquhar is normally a hard battler in these races and it was surprising to see him a lowly third after a race which had everything. But you had to give credit to Dunlop for he’s not known as a 600cc rider. No doubt he will be putting his talent on the line at the North West 200 and many of us can’t wait to see him.
The first open race went to Farquhar who surged to victory on the last lap after Amor had led all the way. Amor was held up by back markers but he wasn’t prepared to take a chance and pass. Ryan did play his luck and as a result it paid off.
But there was no holding Amor. His many fans in Ulster will recall that last week at Cookstown he had victory in sight in two occasions only to mess things up on the last lap.
But there was no unfortunate finale as far as Amor was concerned on Saturday when it came to the main race of the day, the Tandragee 100 All Comers. This was Amor at his best and he led from start to finish to beat Farquhar with William Dunlop in third place.
Amor said afterwards "that makes up for last week when I did everything wrong.
I must pay tribute to Ryan Farquhar who was second to me in the final race but he’s a tremendous competitor and you never know when you have finally beaten him."