Road Racing claims another of the Dunlop dynasty

Road Race star William Dunlop, older brother of TT superstar Michael, son of Robert, and nephew of Joey, passed away overnight from injuries received during practice for the Skerries 100 Road Races.

Dunlop Road Racing
Joey, Robert and now William have all lost their lives racing motorcycles – Image Dunlop Road Racing FB

This is the latest tragedy to strike the Dunlop family after William’s father, Robert, passed away as the result of an accident at the North West 200 a decade ago.  William’s famous uncle, Joey Dunlop, had been killed in Estonia while racing in the year 2000.

William Dunlop spearheaded Tyco BMW's assault at the 'big three' international road racing events as well as selected national races.
William Dunlop spearheaded Tyco BMW’s assault at the ‘big three’ international road racing events as well as selected national races in 2015

There had been rumours of pending retirement for William after he missed the 2018 IOM TT races to be with his partner Janine. She encountered some difficulties during pregnancy as the couple prepared for the arrival of their second child. Skerries was his return to racing after those problems had settled down.

When William and Michael’s father passed away at the North West 200 in 2008, Michael went on to race the event against the protests of organisers. He not only raced the next day, he famously dominated that race in an emotional victory in memoriam of his loving father.

William Dunlop – TT 2014

Michael has now not only lost his uncle, his father, but now his brother. The 18-times TT winner is also scheduled to race the Skerries 100 this weekend. It is unclear if he will continue to race on at the event this weekend, as he did that weekend his father died. Michael had certainly looked up to older brother William when they were young, the two grew up together sleeping in the back of race vans all across the UK.

Our deepest condolences to Michael, his surviving brother Daniel who serves in the army, and to Louise, their mother, who has now not only lost her husband to road racing, but now also her son.

2014 North West 200 - William Dunlop
2014 North West 200 – William Dunlop

William Dunlop would have turned 33 later this month.


Tributes flow in for William Dunlop

North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey

“This is a tragedy beyond belief. The Dunlop family has again been plunged into grief. William Dunlop was a legend in his own right, on and off the road. He was a household name. Everyone in Northern Ireland will be saddened by this news. However the sadness will be particularly felt in his home town of Ballymoney. The Dunlop family are well known and greatly respected in our town and further afield, we feel the great loss and sadness at this news. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family circle at this time and will be remembered by everyone at this difficult time. We assure them of our support as they face the coming days.

BSB’s Shaun Higgs

“Very sad news that William Dunlop has lost his life following an accident at the Skerries road racing event earlier today. Seems incomprehensible how much tragedy one family can incur. RIP William.”

Phillip McCallen

“The sad news you never want to hear, absolutely devastated to hear we’ve lost William Dunlop in an incident today at the Skerries 100. He was one of the most genuine people you could ever meet and will be dearly missed by everyone who knew him. My thoughts are with all his family”

Carl Fogarty

“Life’s pretty shit sometimes.. feel on top of the world one minute. Then brought back down to earth the next with the sad news that William Dunlop has lost his life racing today. Thoughts are with Louise, Michael and family.!!”

Southern 100 Club Chairman, George Peach

“It is extremely sad news to hear that William as succumbed to injuries received on his return to racing it is hard to find words to pay tribute to such a likeable rider. No matter what William always had a smile for everyone, he was a passionate and dedicated rider who could compete with and earned the respect of his rivals. William will be much missed, but his friendship will be fondly remembered by all who were lucky enough to know him. We pass on our sincere condolences to his partner Janine and daughter Ella, his close family and friends at this very sad time.”

William and Michael Dunlop's father, Robert, also lost his life on the roads of Northern Ireland
William and Michael Dunlop’s father, Robert, also lost his life on the roads of Northern Ireland
Joey Dunlop alongside John McGuinness
Joey Dunlop alongside a young John McGuinness