Belfast Telegraph

Gary Dunlop to mark legend dad Joey's finest hour at Ulster Grand Prix


Silver machine: Gary Dunlop pictured with his Moto 3 bike which he will race at this year’s fonaCAB Ulster Grand Prix
Silver machine: Gary Dunlop pictured with his Moto 3 bike which he will race at this year’s fonaCAB Ulster Grand Prix

By Roy Harris

A titanic Superbike battle between Joey Dunlop and David Jefferies in 1999 will always be remembered as one of the greatest races Ulster Grand Prix around the 7.4mile Dundrod Circuit.

Now Joey's son, Gary, will ride the famous silver and black RC45 Honda his father raced to victory on that famous day 20-years ago while Manxman Conor Cummins will ride Jefferies' V&M R1 Yamaha in a tribute lap at this year's event next month.

Many people, including Joey's father Willie, considered this race to be one of Joey's greatest road race victories on his final appearance at Dundrod before he tragically lost his life in a crash at an Estonian event 19 years ago this week.

Jefferies had defeated Joey in both the F1 TT and Senior TT races and started favorite at Dundrod, even though it was his debut at the track and duly won the opening Superbike encounter. Dunlop, however, was determined not to be beaten twice around one of his favoured circuits.

Taking up the story, Gary said: "I was at the Ulster in 1999 and it was a great day's racing. The big race was unbelievable and I knew dad would win because he had that look on his face.

"I knew it was going to be tough, but I knew dad would push it in that race and make it a very special day as he took on and beat the V&M Yamahas of Jefferies and Iain Duffus."

It was the fastest race around Dundrod at the time with all three riders smashing the lap record set by Jason Griffiths in 1994, Jefferies taking the record at 128.858mph.

Five-time F1 World Champion Joey duly won his 24th Ulster Grand Prix race, equalling his number of wins around the same circuit in the Killinchy and Dundrod 150 events - a record total of 48 wins around Dundrod between 1976 and 1999, a record that will arguably stand for ever.

As Gary visited Dundrod yesterday on the 19th anniversary of his father's passing, he said: "I am really looking forward to having a run around Dundrod on the RC 45 and I'm sure the fans will appreciate seeing the bike in action again."

Road race fans who lined the hedges on that August day 20 years ago will never forget Joey's famous win.

"The 1999 Superbike race battle between Joey and David Jefferies was one of the greatest races ever seen at the Ulster and we wanted to mark the 20th anniversary in a special way," Ulster Grand Prix clerk of the course Noel Johnston said.

"Joey rode his fastest ever Dundrod lap that day at 126.840mph to claim his 24th Ulster Grand Prix win and I'm sure every fan will be as thrilled, as I will be, on August 10 to see Gary and Conor back on the famous old course aboard the machines Joey and David rode that day."

Gary will also compete in the Moto3 race at this year's event - race week is August 5-10 -and has won the last two national events in the class at Kells and Enniskillen

Eunan McGlinchey, from Aghadowey, who has won the last two British Superstock 600cc races at Brands Hatch and Knockhill, will be a wild card entry for this weekend's World Superbike meeting at Donington Park where he will compete in the World Supersport 300 class, riding for the French based FLEMBBO Team on a Kawasaki.

Belfast Telegraph


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