Belfast Telegraph

William Dunlop sets sights on emulating dad Robert at Ulster GP

 

By Roy Harris

Robert Dunlop first rode at the Ulster Grand Prix in 1982 and went on to score nine wins at the event - seven 125cc races and two Superbike - before his untimely death during practice for the North West 200 in 2008.

Now, his eldest son William sits just two wins behind, with aspirations to at least equal his dad's total come August 12.

William said: "It's strange thinking about equalling my dad's record anywhere because I always rated him as one of the best.

"I'm now sitting one above my dad at Walderstown, but that doesn't make me a better rider. It's a different set of circumstances too, as he was injured half of his career. It is nice, though, seeing my name up there with his."

The seven-time UGP winner has had a difficult season after his winter deal with Halsall Racing did not materialise. He has been playing catch-up ever since.

He would dearly like a Superbike win at Dundrod. He said: "I'm heading to the Ulster hoping to get five good finishes, but it's the Superbike that I'm really going for.

"I know I'm capable, but where the bike is going to be is a bit of an unknown right now. We've a few new parts to test on the Temple Golf Club R1 Yamaha and I've got Armoy to get things sorted as well.

"I'm confident we're going to cure the problems we've been having and I think I could be an outsider for Superbike race wins. They are the ones everyone wants and everyone remembers. It's the only one I haven't won at Dundrod and it would be nice to have the complete set.

"The circuit suits my riding style and I'm always happy and comfortable being there as it is an international event that feels like a national, and that's what I love about it.

"The past two or three years I've been let down going to the TT so it has always been a disaster on the Island and you are always looking at the Ulster to make a good showing. This year is no different. Finishing the season strongly puts you in a good position to try and get bikes for the following year, which is important too. I know on a 600 I'll either win it or lose it on the last corner and that's the only thing I'm a bit worried about."

William was speaking during the MCE UGP announcement of a renewed sponsorship deal with Whitemountain Centra Service Station, who will once again back the first Supersport race.

Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston said: "My thanks to Sam and Danielle at Centra Whitemountain for their continued support for a second year.

"William is a talented rider and you feel for him with the run of luck he has had. Fingers crossed he can get any lingering issues with the bikes sorted in time for a proper run out at Armoy prior to the Ulster."

Meanwhile, East Coast Motorcycling Club will be running 2017's Irish road race finale on September 9-10, having taken over following the cancellation of the Killalane Road Races last year.

A full Irish Championship programme will be held around the 3.3-mile Killalane Circuit with entries from Paula Everard, Baldongan, Skerries, Co. Dublin K34 DC93 or www.eastcoastmotorcyclingclub.com.

Belfast Telegraph

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