Belfast Telegraph

'A tragedy beyond belief': William Dunlop dies following crash at Skerries 100 races

  • The crash happened during practice on Saturday
  • His father, Robert, died at the North West 200 ten years ago
  • Arlene Foster said Dunlop "will be forever remembered for his many achievements"
  • North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan said: "William was a hero to many "
  • Ulster Grand Prix and NW 200 also paid tribute
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 23/8/2017: William Dunlop on the start line for practice at the Classic TT.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 23/8/2017: William Dunlop on the start line for practice at the Classic TT. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
William Dunlop racing during practice at Skerries today. Pacemaker
PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 practice sessions. Pictured: Paul Jordan and William Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
William Dunlop racing during practice at Skerries today. PACEMAKEER BELFAST 07/07/2018
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 20/3/2017: William Dunlop with his Caffrey International R6 Yamaha he will race in the Supersport class in 2017. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 7/7/2018: William Dunlop in action on the Temple Golf Club Yamaha during practice for the Skerries 100 today. William died in crash during the session. PICTURE BY DEREK WILSON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 2010: Michael and William Dunlop in their father Robert's Memorial Garden in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 7/7/2018: Gardai at the scene where William Dunlop suffered a fatal crash during practice for the Skerries 100 today.
Northern Ireland- 13th August 2014 Mandatory Credit - Matt Mackey/Presseye.com William Dunlop in action on board his superbike at practice for the Dundrod 150 and Ulster Grand Prix road races.
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 25/8/2017: Michael and William Dunlop at Classic TT practice tonight. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/5/2014: William Dunlop celebrates after winning the opening Superbike race at the Vauxhall International North West 200. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
William Dunlop and his partner Janine arrive at the Adelaide Motorcycle Awards in Belfast in 2014. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 17/1/2014.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 03/06/13: Brothers Michael (MD Racing Honda) and William Dunlop (Milwaukee Yamaha) in the winners enclosure after finishing first and third in the opening Monster Energy supersport race on his MD Racing Honda at the 2013 Isle of Man TT PHOTO BY STEPHEN DAVISON/PACEMAKER
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 23/1/2015: That's my boy! William Dunlop, winner of the Race of the Year category at the Adelaide Motorbike awards with his mother Louise. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
William Dunlop at the Armoy Road Races in 2016. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th April 2017 Cookstown 100 Road Races. Pictured: William Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 1/5/2015: William Dunlop during Tandragee 100 practice. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2015 William Dunlop (Tyco BMW Motorrad Racing) during Tuesday's practice for the North West 200 Road races. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 24/7/2015: William Dunlop (CD Racing Yamaha) celebrates winning the opening 600cc race at the Armoy road races on Friday evening. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2017 Isle of Man TT Practice Week Pictured: William Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
Mandatory Credit: Rowland White / PressEye Motor Cycling: Tandragee 100 Venue: Tandragee Date: 1st May 2015 Caption: William Dunlop
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th August 2016 Practice sessions for the Plant Lubrication Dundrod 150 and the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix get underway. Pictured: William Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200 Pictured: William Dunlop with fans. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 07th June 2017 Isle of Man TT RL360 Quantum Superstock Race Pictured: William Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th August 2017 Dundrod 150 Gym Co Ultralightweight / Lightweight Race Pictured: Paul Jordan and William Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 09th August 2017 Ulster Grand Prix & Dundrod 150 Practice Pictured: William Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
Mandatory Credit: Rowland White PressEye Road Racing: Cooktown 100 Venue: Orritor Date: 30th April 2016 Race: Supersport 2 Caption: William Dunlop celebrates
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 3rd June 2013 Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ Presseye William Dunlop (Milwaukee Yamaha) at Creg-Ny-Baa during Monday's Royan London 360 Superstock Race over the Mountain Course during the IOM TT 2013.
Northern Ireland- 13th May 2014 Mandatory Credit - Picture - Matt Mackey/Presseye.com Vauxhall International 2014 North West 200. Tuesday practice. William Dunlop Tyco.
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland 26th April 2013 - Mandatory Credit - Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com Cookstown 100 road races practice evening. Ballymoney rider William Dunlop.
PACEMAKER BELFAST, 9/5/2006: Robert Dunlop is the most successful rider in the history of the North West 200 with 14 wins and as he goes for win 15 in 2006 he will have strong competition from his own sons Michael and William. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST,2007: The Dunlop family enjoyed a winning day at teh Mid Antrim 150 with Michael, Dad Robert and William all winning a race apiece. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 2008: Robert Dunlop and his three sons Daniel, Michael and William. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Tributes are being paid after the tragic death of Ballymoney racer William Dunlop following a crash at the Skerries 100 races in Co Dublin.

The son of the late Robert and nephew of the legendary Joey, William was making his return to the sport after pulling out of this year's Isle of Man TT to be with his pregnant partner, who is expecting their second child.

He suffered fatal injuries in an incident during open practice on Saturday shortly after 5pm. Dunlop was racing on his Temple Golf Club Yamaha. The crash is understood to have happened at the Sam's Tunnel section of the course.

The 32-year-old was a winner at both the North West 200 and the Ulster GP.

DunlopSkerrie.jpg
William Dunlop racing during practice at Skerries on Saturday

A statement on behalf of the Skerries 100 organisers read: "The Loughshinny Motorcycle Supporters Club, organisers of the Skerries 100, deeply regrets to announce that competitor William Dunlop of Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, has passed away following injuries received in a tragic accident that occurred during practice which took place today 7th July 2018.

"The Loughshinny Motorcycle Supporters Club extends their heartfelt sympathy to William Dunlop's family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very sad time."

William's father Robert was killed following an accident in practice at the NW200 in 2008 while uncle Joey died after a crash in Estonia in 2000.

Tributes are flowing in for the much-loved racer and brother of Michael, who is also competing at the County Dublin event.

Those have been led by the Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club, who said:

"The Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club are beyond devastated to learn of the death of our club member and local road racing legend William Dunlop, after he was involved in an incident in today's practice sessions at the Skerries 100.

"Our deepest sympathies go to his partner Janine and daughter Ella, mother Louise, brother Michael and Daniel, Granny May, the Dunlop family, William's friends, team and wider circle.

"Such a lovely fella on & off the bike. He will be missed so much by us all."

A man whose quiet charm and fierce determination will never be forgotten in the paddock. Ulster Grand Prix

Dundrod & District Motorcycle club said:  "As a sport, road racing is like no other. It can bring the highest of highs, but it can also sometimes be incredibly cruel.

"From all at the Dundrod & District Motorcycle club our thoughts are with the friends, family and many fans of William Dunlop, who sadly lost his life at the Skerries 100 today."

North West 200 organisers said they were "absolutely devastated to learn of the death of William Dunlop in an incident today at the Skerries 100."

"Our sincere sympathies are with his partner Janine, his daughter, brothers, mother and extended family."

North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said: “This is a tragedy beyond belief. The Dunlop family has again been plunged into grief. William Dunlop was a legend in his own right, on and off the road. He was a household name.

"Everyone in Northern Ireland will be saddened by this news. However the sadness will be particularly felt in his home town of Ballymoney. The Dunlop family are well known and greatly respected in our town and further afield, we feel the great loss and sadness at this news.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family circle at their time. The entire family circle will be remembered by everyone during this difficult time. We assure them of our support as they face the coming days.”

Sinn Fein North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan said Dunlop was "a hero to many".

William was a hero to many in these parts and the community will be devastated at this news. Philip McGuigan

“This is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with the Dunlop family at this difficult time," he said.

“Motorbike racing is very popular throughout Ireland but nowhere more is that the case than in North Antrim."

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