Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Joey Dunlop remembered, 10 years on

Joey Dunlop pictured in 1993
Thousands of fans attended motorbike ace Joey Dunlop's funeral today at Garryduff, Ballymoney. July 2000
Robert and Joey Dunlop

Thousands of motorbike fans across the world will pause today to remember one of the sport’s greatest legends who died a decade ago.

More than 50,000 people turned out to pay their last respects to motorbike legend Joey Dunlop (left) at his funeral in Ballymoney 10 years ago. A thanksgiving service is being held today to celebrate his life. Above: the greatest road racer we ever had... Joey on his bike in 1985

Joey Dunlop (48) was killed while leading a road race in Talinn, Estonia, on July 2, 2000.

The five-time world champion lost control of his 125cc bike and ploughed into a tree. He was killed instantly and his death sent shockwaves right across the world.

Today hundreds of people, including Dunlop family members, friends and well-known faces from the motorcycle fraternity, will gather in his home town of Ballymoney to pay tribute to the much-loved motorcycle genius.

A thanksgiving service is being held at Garryduff Presbyterian Church in Ballymoney, where 10 years ago more than 50,000 people turned out to pay their respects.

The service, organised by Joey’s widow Linda, is aimed at saying ‘thank you’ to the people who have supported the family during their most difficult years.

Although a select number of people have been invited, everyone is welcome to attend.

Linda said: “People started to ask us if we were doing anything. We had thought that we wouldn’t bother because we are not into that sort of thing. But then we thought it would be nice to thank the people who have supported us over the last 10 years because that’s what it’s about.”

On the Isle of Man, where Joey enjoyed a remarkable 26 TT victories during his 32-year career, fans have been invited to take part in a commemoration lap round the Snaefell mountain course. Chairman of the Joey Dunlop Foundation Kevin Quirk said: “There's nothing better than a ride round the course where Joey achieved so much.”

Meanwhile, some fans have also decided to ride to Estonia where Dunlop competed in his final race to mark the anniversary.

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