Belfast Telegraph

Dunlop Jnr can't wait to wear the number 3 and race in Ulster Grand Prix... just like his legendary dad

By Nevin Farrell

The iconic yellow helmet and famed number 3 - forever associated with legendary road racer Joey Dunlop - will again blast along the roads of the Ulster Grand Prix this week.

Events will be held at the famous Dundrod course - which was Joey's favourite track - from today until next weekend and a star attraction will be Joey's son, Gary.

Gary's helmet will be in the distinctive yellow which helped make Joey famous.

And his bike will feature the number 3, which had been retired by race chiefs.

The 33-year-old says he has been itching to take part in the MCE Ulster Grand Prix after making his road racing debut at the Mid Antrim 150 in April.

His late father was the most successful rider in history, with 48 wins at the famous Dundrod circuit and 26 wins at the Isle of Man TT.

Gary will compete in the Ultralightweight or '125' class at both the Plant Lubrication (NI) Dundrod 150 and the MCE Ulster Grand Prix.

Gary was just 16 when his father passed away in 2000 following a crash in Estonia, and at age 17 he began competing at Irish short circuit level before deciding two years later to give it up to help run the family pub in Ballymoney, Joey's Bar.

Gary said: "The clerk of the course has given me rider number 3. I wasn't too sure about it at first, as it's my dad's number and it's a bit strange for me, but it's a nice legacy.

"It's the only race that I've actually been looking forward to all year.

"There's others that I've sort of been interested in but none compare to this one. Dundrod has been the one that I've looked forward to from the very first race.

"I have so many childhood memories running about Dundrod; I grew up there. Playing in the wee stream down the bottom of the paddock, messing about on the bicycle in round where the scrutineering bay is, and obviously watching all those great races through the Eighties and Nineties.

"It's like a home from home for me. The memories I have of my dad racing there are ridiculous. He has the record for the most number of wins at Dundrod but it's not just that… I know everybody probably thinks it's the TT, and he did love the TT, but Dundrod was his favourite course.

"My dad came away pretty much every time with something and it means a lot to me to race this track. I love it just the way he did."

Noel Johnston, clerk of the course, said: "I think there will be more than a few people who will be happy to see that famous yellow helmet flying around the circuit once more."

Belfast Telegraph

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