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Jim Gracey:Sunday Life Sports Editor

The down to earth genius people could identify with... that made Joey Dunlop a true great

Jim Gracey


 

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Man at work: Joey tinkers with his race bike at the North West 200. Photo: Stephen Davison

Man at work: Joey tinkers with his race bike at the North West 200. Photo: Stephen Davison

A quick puff before the off at Tandragee in 1993. Photo: Stephen Davison

A quick puff before the off at Tandragee in 1993. Photo: Stephen Davison

The greatest: Joey Dunlop was named Northern Ireland’s Greatest Ever Sports Star (as voted for by Belfast Telegraph readers) and in 2014 his daughters Joanne Dunlop and Donna McLean received the award from Richard McClean (INM Managing Director of Publishing Ireland)

The greatest: Joey Dunlop was named Northern Ireland’s Greatest Ever Sports Star (as voted for by Belfast Telegraph readers) and in 2014 his daughters Joanne Dunlop and Donna McLean received the award from Richard McClean (INM Managing Director of Publishing Ireland)

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

The tribute to the Ballymoney man at the course in Estonia where he lost his life

The tribute to the Ballymoney man at the course in Estonia where he lost his life

Lost at sea: Joey at Strangford Harbour

Lost at sea: Joey at Strangford Harbour

Man at work: Joey tinkers with his race bike at the North West 200. Photo: Stephen Davison

He was the man everyone knew and no one really knew, bar his close family and a hand-picked circle of friends.

When they made Joey, they broke the mould, wrote our late motorcycle racing correspondent Jimmy Walker in his acclaimed biography, Just Joey.

Six years ago, I looked for another description to complement Jimmy's when an online poll of our readers acclaimed Joey as our Greatest Sports Star Ever as part of the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.