Joey's last Irish road win came in the 125cc race at the 2000 Tandragee 100 just a month before his death and, uncommonly for him, there was controversy surrounding it.
A new chicane had been installed at Lough Road, close to the paddock, by the MCUI (UC) Safety Committee, to slow riders down at that particular part of the course. Competitors didn't like it and, led by Joey, they voiced their opinions with Dunlop saying: "I'm not going to race unless it's altered," and off to his van he went.
With a huge crowd in attendance, the organising North Armagh Club didn't want to disappoint them and after negotiations between the club and MCUI officials, the chicane was eased. Joey raced and led the 125cc race from start to finish.
His last big bike win at the Isle of Man TT was in 1988. Honda produced a new SPI and Joey raced the Paul Bird Demon Vimto machine at both the Cookstown and North West 200, but he wasn't overly keen on the speed of the machine.
After much to-ing and fro-ing between Honda top brass in the UK and Japan, it was agreed that Joey could have the use of the SP1 engine that Kiwi Aaron Slight was using in World Superbikes plus three Japanese technicians.
Despite handling problems and the return of the technicians to Germany for a WSB round, Joey was in the mood for the opening six-lap F1 race and led his arch-rival David Jefferies into the first of two pit stops at the end of lap two by a mere half second.
Slick work by Dunlop's crew saw Graeme Parker fit a new rear slick, David Wood replace the Arai Helmet visor and his usual fuel man Ernie Coates fill the tank of the SP1 with Joey heading onto lap three six seconds clear of the distinctive yellow and red V&M Yamaha of new TT start Jefferies.
Laps three and four saw the pair in a head-to-head battle, taking the odd second out of each other here and there as they raced at record pace around the torturous 37-and-three-quarter-mile Mountain Circuit.
Dunlop was only 1.5 seconds ahead as the pair charged down the mountain towards their second pit stop, which could make or break a rider's chances of a win.
His lead reduced dramatically to half a second again, he stalled the SP1 as his crew went about their business in their usual efficient way and he was ready to go. Luckily, he had the electric start and the bike roared into life and off he went for the last two crucial laps, again eeking out a six-second lead on the stopwatches over Jefferies going onto the penultimate lap.
Isle of Man races usually have a late twist but for Jefferies his race was run, coasting to a halt at Dorans Bend with the V&M Yamaha clutch basket in smithereens.
What was set for a nail-biting last couple of laps wasn't to be. Could Jefferies reel in Dunlop or would the Ballymoney man fend him off? We'll never know.
His signals now giving him a 50-second lead, 48-year-old Dunlop was able to ease the Honda home and win by almost a minute from Michael Rutter and John McGuinness.
As the late Telegraph correspondent Jimmy Walker related in his book 'Just Joey', the popular Ballymoney man said: "I was ready for a last-lap battle. I had expected it to go to the wire. Obviously Jefferies' exit made it easier, but I still had to finish the race."
Asked by TT commentator Geoff Cannell if this first F1 race win had been one of his most memorable races, Dunlop, never one to relish a microphone shoved under his chin, said: "Och, it was alright!"
Joey won a TT F1 race again, his first in 12 years, silencing the doubters who believed he would never again win another 'Big Bike' race on the Mountain Circuit following his 1989 Good Friday Brands Hatch crash that had left him with serious injuries.
Later in a quieter moment, he told Road Racing Ireland magazine: "It was a relief to finish, as Honda had given me the best bike possible and I didn't let them down. It was satisfying to prove I was well worthy of their support and the effort some people had given me. I was under real pressure to pull off a result and I did it."
His first stop after the ceremonies were concluded? The beer tent for a well-earned drink with family and friends.
Another TT legend, the late Steve Hislop, said: "Joey winning that F1 race was a memorable achievement, establishing him as a genuine Superbike rider again. You have to hand it to him; he produced the goods when it mattered."
This was Joey's 24th TT victory and he went on to make it the record 26 by winning the 250 and 125cc races before the end of the week.
During the 250cc race presentations, Joey was made an unofficial Knight of the Isle of Man and received a gold replica of the Manx Sword of State from then Island Minister for Tourism and Leisure David Cretney, who said: "Not only are you King of the Mountain, but now a Knight of the Isle of Man."
At 48-years-old and with a record 26 TT wins to his name, would he return to possibly add to that total?
Unfortunately, we'll never know.
Four days after the Senior TT, Joey's sponsor and friend Andy McMenemy took his own life, a shattering blow after the glory and euphoria of TT week. That same night, Joey received the Freedom of his home town Ballymoney with crowds lining the streets to acclaim their hero.
Joey, known only to his family, then headed off to Estonia, arguably to get his head 'showered' on one of his mercy missions to deliver food, clothes and toys to orphaned children.
While there, he entered that fateful Estonia Motorcycling Federation meeting at Tallinn and after winning a Superbike race his life was ended following a crash in the 125cc race.
A true legend of motorcycle racing was gone, a severe blow firstly to his family and then his legion of fans near and far epitomised by the huge attendance at his funeral to Garryduff Church burial ground.
A couple of quotes spring to mind, the first from that gifted writer Jimmy Walker in a 1977 article on Dunlop. Walker wrote: "The tiny Co Antrim rider with the long-haired look of a wild Irish Leprechaun had a wall-of-death style which would have made Evel Knievel turn white, yet he rarely fell off. Tucked down behind the fairing, he resembles a high-speed Pony Express rider escaping the Apaches - and he rarely failed to finish the trip."
The second came from Ray McCullough, one of the all-time greats of Irish motorcycling, who said: "He was a terrific rider, a bit rough and ready in the early days. Racing with him, you always felt safe as a lot of boys would be pushing you out of the way, but there was none of that from Joey. When he came past me he always left plenty of room.
"I have two abiding memories of Joey; one of a 250cc race at the Temple where the two of us fought tooth and nail, passing and re-passing, flying over the notorious Temple jumps.
"It all came down to Rectory Corner, a tight hairpin on the last lap. I was leading and the next thing Joey flew past me - he was nearly in Saintfield before he got pulled up!
"Then I had what was probably the biggest crash of my career off a 750cc Yamaha at the North West 200 rounding the fast bend before Station (it has been straightened since then) ending up in hospital and who was one of the first to visit?
"Joey, of course, still in his leathers. We were fierce rivals on the track, but off it he was a shy, quiet man who would have done anything for you."