Short circuit racing was never high on the list of priorities for Michael Dunlop, but he admits he would have been interested in learning his true capabilities on purpose-built circuits.
His father Robert won the 125cc British Championship in 1991 in addition to being one of this country’s greatest ever road racers, but Michael only ever harboured one main ambition.
The 19-time Isle of Man TT winner will make his road racing return at Armoy later this month, almost two years since he last competed between the hedges at the Classic TT in 2019.
Dunlop will line up as the favourite at his home meeting from July 30-31, when he will ride the SYNETIQ BMW for Philip and Hector Neill’s TAS Racing team.
The 32-year-old is carrying on the proud tradition of the Dunlop road racing dynasty after tragically losing his father Robert, brother William and uncle Joey to the sport, and Dunlop says he was always destined to follow the path he is on.
“It’s something we were reared with, it’s our family heritage – my uncle (Joey) did it, my dad did it, my other uncle, Jim, did it as well: when you came from where I did, that was all you had… motorbikes,” he said.
“I always wanted to ride the roads and it was always my thing to do that. I’d like to have seen what it was possible to do if I went down the short circuit route.
“But all in all, the roads was our thing and it’s just what we do.”
Dunlop has been clocking up the miles this year, making his debut at the famous Daytona 200 in March and participating in numerous test days, as well as competing in the opening round of the Ulster Superbike Championship last weekend at Kirkistown in Co Down.
The Ballymoney man is also entered for this weekend’s second USBK round at Bishopscourt near Downpatrick on Saturday and Sunday.