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Billy Weir

The day family, friends and fans gathered to applaud their hero Joey Dunlop one last time

Billy Weir


 

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Final goodbye: Thousands came to mourn Joey Dunlop at his funeral

Final goodbye: Thousands came to mourn Joey Dunlop at his funeral

Final goodbye: Thousands came to mourn Joey Dunlop at his funeral

Final goodbye: Thousands came to mourn Joey Dunlop at his funeral

Final goodbye: Thousands came to mourn Joey Dunlop at his funeral

In July 2000, I was Sports Editor of the Ballymoney and Moyle Times and, like thousands of other motorcycling fans across the globe, was stunned by the tragic news of Joey Dunlop's death in Estonia.

The town became a focal point to mourn for bikes fans of all ages and creeds - and remains so to this day, with a statue of Joey, later to be joined by that of his younger brother, Robert, who died at the North West 200 in 2008, becoming a vital stopping off point for those heading to the Triangle circuit.

Some 50,000 mourners - a conservative estimate - came to the outskirts of Ballymoney to mourn the loss of their idol and show their support to Joey's wife, Linda, their children and a family that is part of the fabric of north Antrim.