Michael Dunlop doubtful for North West 200 after Kirkistown crash
Michael Dunlop's participation in next week's fonaCAB International North West 200 is in jeopardy after he sustained a wrist injury while testing the Tyco BMW at Kirkistown last Thursday.
This will be a major blow to the many thousands of spectators eagerly awaiting Michael's return to racing following the death of his brother William in a racing accident during practice for last year's Skerries Road Races, north of Dublin.
It is understood that Michael came off his machine rounding the hairpin at the Co Down circuit during a final test ahead of the BSB meeting at Oulton Park where he was expected to ride over the Bank Holiday weekend.
If confirmed, this must also jeopardise the 18-time Isle of Man TT winner's chances on the Island, as practice around the 37-mile Mountain Circuit begins just a week after the North West 200.
This news must also come as a huge blow to the Moneymore-based Tyco BMW team, as the 30-year-old from Ballymoney was to be their sole representative at both events.
A year ago, during the North West, Michael scored a fine second place behind Glenn Irwin in the Merrow Hotel and Spa feature race on the Tyco BMW, also riding his MD Racing BMW to third and fourth in the Bayview Hotel and CP Hire Superstock events.
It was then on to the TT where Michael was a treble winner, riding the Tyco BMW to victory in the RST Superbike race, the MD Racing Honda to win the first Monster Energy Supersport, and then he broke new ground by taking the chequered flag first in the Bennetts Lightweight TT on his debut for the Italian Paton concern.
He incurred a 30-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane during the Senior TT, placing him in fourth position. Everything then changed dramatically and Michael has not raced on the roads since the tragic event at Skerries, indeed it was unsure whether he would race again.
Then, earlier this year, he announced he would return to racing with Tyco BMW in the Superbike class and his own MD Racing machines in Superstock and Supersport at selected meetings, including NW200 and TT.
His loyal band of sponsors and fans have backed Michael every step of the way and will just be as gutted as the rider himself if he is forced to miss the NW200, although everybody will be wishing him a speedy recovery.
Following his 2006 debut at the North West, Michael has scored 15 podiums including five wins, the most memorable being his highly emotional 2008 250cc victory following his father Robert's death less than 48 hours earlier in a practice accident.
This follows the news Adam McLean will also miss the NW200 and TT following his crash during the Supertwin race at Tandragee on Saturday in which he sustained pelvic injuries, a broken arm, collarbone, shoulder blade and rib, leaving the McAdoo Kawasaki team without a pilot for the opening international road races.