Belfast Telegraph

Isle of Man TT: It's all in a week's work for the kings of the road

By Billy Weir

Even in the roller-coaster ride that is the life of Michael Dunlop, the last few days have had more up and downs than a visit to Barrys.

On Sunday the Ballymoney man made an unceremonious return to the paddock on board an ambulance after parting company with his BMW in the opening Superbike race of the Isle of Man TT week.

Bruised and battered, he dusted himself off on Monday to get back in action in the Superstock practice only for fate to intervene again.

This time it was brother William in the wars with his younger sibling one of the first on the scene after he had crashed out at Laurel Bank in a 100mph plus crash.

Broken ribs ruled the elder Dunlop out for the rest of the meeting and it says much for Michael that he called time on a potentially flying lap to help stretcher his stricken brother into an ambulance.

The picture of Michael ferrying William to the ambulance speaks volumes for the spirit of the sport and above all, the family ties that have made the Dunlop dynasty the undoubted kings of the road.

Like their late father, Robert, and uncle Joey, the all-time record winner on the island, there is literally no time or inclination to lick their wounds.

While William was undergoing medical treatment, Michael was back in action on Monday evening, the physical and mental scars of a tempestuous 24 hours proving too much as he called it a day in the Supersport race after lap two.

Yesterday he was back again, this time with another night of recuperation under his belt, pushing double-winning Ian Hutchinson all the way to come home in second spot in the Superstock race.

Serious injury is merely an occupational hazard to the likes of Michael and the pain from a worm's eye view of the roads of the world famous circuit was nothing to the frustration of not being able to give it his all.

"That bang earlier in the week didn't help if I'm honest and it has just ruined my two weeks," he said yesterday.

"But these things happen. Nobody is dead, we're alive, and I just need to get myself ready for Friday and hope I can stick six laps but I don't think it's going to be easy in the condition I'm in."

He was referring to Friday's Superbike Senior TT race, with his participation in today's Supersport race still in doubt.

"I just need to see if I'm going to bother or not. The fitness for the six laps (of the Superbikes) is always going to be my top priority.

"The body, at least, is starting to work again, it's just not easy to be 100 per cent fit, but I could have done without lying around the hedges in Sunday's race, but these things happen."

Scottish rider Keith Amor is also recuperating in hospital after his spill at Stella Maris on the second lap of the four-lap Supersport race on Monday

The Falkirk man is being treated for facial injuries and possible fractures in his neck, back, ankle, arm and shoulder.

"It is what it is and sadly my TT's over but we'll look to get back to full fitness as soon as possible," he said.

Roads racers really are a breed apart.

Belfast Telegraph


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