Belfast Telegraph

William Dunlop is upbeat despite his Isle of Man TT-ending crash

By Paul Lindsay

William Dunlop's aspirations of a first Isle of Man TT victory are over for another year, following a 110mph crash at Laurel Bank during a practice lap on the island yesterday afternoon.

His brother Michael, who himself escaped injury after crashing out of Sunday's TT Superbike race, was the first on the scene and helped stretcher William off the track before he was air lifted to Nobles Hospital.

William has sustained a broken rib and extensive bruising, ruling him out of the remainder of the TT.

The Ballymoney man said he was catching fellow BMW pilot Lee Johnston on the road and was potentially on course for a 129mph lap on his Tyco BMW S1000RR Superstock machine but tucked the front in fourth gear.

"The bike was working really well and I was pushing as I'd taken five or six second out of Lee Johnston in front of me," said William.

"I actually braked a little earlier going into that section, as I got great drive out of the previous corner.

"But when I braked I lost the front. I saved it on my knee, but having to try and make the corner meant I was carrying more lean angle and the front just tucked."

His team were initially hopeful that he would be able to race later in the week but the injury is more serious than first thought. Having come to a sudden halt, after sliding back first into the stone-lined walls on the Glen Helen section of circuit, William thought he had sustained serious back injuries in addition to the broken rib.

"I just wanted to get my helmet off first, as I was worried about my back," he recalled.

"I hate flying so I was asking them not to go too high in the air ambulance."

Tyco team owners Hector and Philip Neill, and indeed the entire team, are obviously hugely disappointed to have lost one half of their squad for the remaining races at this year's TT meeting.

But, as always, Philip Neill explained the overriding importance of rider safety.

"It's a cruel blow for William and obviously for the team at what is effectively the biggest road racing event of the year for us all," he said.

"We had high hopes for William in our first year here at the TT with BMW Motorrad, but we are relieved that he is relatively unscathed, having crashed at a very unforgiving part of the circuit."

Speaking of Michael's decision to abandon an important practice lap prior to today's TT Superstock race, the Tyco BMW team manager added: "Despite it being his brother, it was a tremendously sporting gesture and Michael simply showed that the human side is always more important than the racing."

Praising the medical support, he also said: "The medical staff at the TT do a great job, but by all accounts Michael's assistance was very important in getting William to the air ambulance."

William has also asked team-mate Guy Martin to step in and honour his commitment to the American Victory team in the TT Zero race, to which Martin said: "I just want to make sure William gets paid for the job. He's a good lad."

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