Why was Joey Dunlop so good? What was it that made this most ordinary of men so extraordinary?
Read any history of the Isle of Man TT, the world's greatest and most dangerous road race, and you will find dozens of tales of what might have been had poor weather, injuries, breakdowns or a multitude of other forms of ill fortune not got in the way.
Joey wasn't immune to these twists of fate. In his early days there was never enough money. His bikes weren't always the fastest and sometimes they broke down. He lost some of his closest friends in terrible crashes.
In 1989 his body was smashed to pieces after another competitor made a mistake and brought him down. Joey was unbowed by his ill fortune and defied the relentless march of time to succeed at what he loved most.
The Ballymoney racer was 48 when he won three Mountain course races in his final visit to the island in 2000, bringing his TT tally to a still unsurpassed 26.
While others who could, should or would have been great if they had not been denied by the ifs, buts and maybes of life, Joey Dunlop was a winner, and in sport there is no substitute for winning.
We like our heroes served humble in this part of the world.
Unlike so many modern sport stars, Joey did his talking on the track. His career is judged by his record.
The Ulsterman also provided inspiration beyond his chosen sport in his selfless and unpublicised mercy missions to the orphanages and refugee camps of eastern Europe during the Nineties.
That is why, two decades after his passing, Joey Dunlop's legacy is still revered by millions of people around the world.
This image of Joey Dunlop, taken at the Carrowdore 100, will always be my favourite photograph of the great man.
Although I watched Joey in action from the beginning of his racing career until his last glorious TT in 2000, I always preferred to photograph him without his helmet.
By the time I was capturing this image in 1993, Joey had already won five world championships, equalled Mike Hailwood's record of TT victories and was acknowledged as the world's greatest road racer. Despite his immense success and renowned status, Joey had remained unchanged.
After a hot day of racing at a wee meeting in Co Down, he rode his bike back to the paddock, pulled off his leathers and sat down on the wheel arch of his van to enjoy a big mug of tea and a doorstep sandwich. There might not have been any cake but the icing came with the Fred Flintstone mug.
In 1994 I photographed a scene I had witnessed many times over the previous two decades. Joey was sitting in his van in the Tandragee 100 paddock, deep in thought as he looked out at the rain.
Suddenly he jumped up, tipped his race bike on its side and knelt beside it. Although there were several other members of his entourage present they just reached him the spanners and held an umbrella over his head as Joey began to change the gearing on the 250cc Honda.
The field that doubled as the Tandragee paddock had been home to a herd of cows several days earlier, leaving it covered in mud and dung. Joey, already in his white racing leathers, was oblivious to the dirt as he worked.
Less than a month before the 1998 TT, Joey suffered a serious crash at the Tandragee 100. As well as cracking his pelvis and damaging a shoulder, most of the wedding ring finger on his left hand was amputated.
Throughout practice week the Ballymoney veteran plunged his hand into a carrier bag of ice after each session in an attempt to reduce the swelling.
Few gave the Ballymoney man more than an ice cube's chance in hell of winning anything.
Joey was never more determined than when his back was firmly trapped against a wall. Come race day he called on all of his experience and course knowledge to triumph in a race that fellow TT legend, John McGuinness, has described as the worst of his TT career.
Heavy rain began to fall just as the flag dropped and the race distance was immediately cut from four to three laps.
The 250cc machines would require a refuelling stop to complete three circuits of the 37-and-three- quarter mile circuit.
This would normally happen at the end of the opening lap, but Joey, who had raced in all kinds of conditions, realised the weather was so bad there was a good chance the race would be cut further.
That is exactly what happened.
As the Ballymoney man blasted past the grandstand without stopping at the end of the opening lap, the organisers cut the race to two laps.
Joey had moved from Plan A to Plan B as most of his rivals had no plan at all, leaving him to romp to a famous victory.
Joey was under pressure at the 1998 Isle of Man TT after losing the wedding ring finger of his left hand in a Tandragee crash just a few weeks earlier.