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William Joseph Dunlop from Ballymoney, Co. Antrim – known to all as…….. ‘Joey’.
His amazing racing record, both on the ‘shorts’ as well as the roads, has been well documented over the years, and is common knowledge to his faithful fans.Suffice it to say, that the most quoted statistic being his 26 Isle of Man TT victories – a record which remains unsurpassed to this day.
For a man who never courted fame his legend has only grown since his untimely death. Even those enthusiasts who never saw him race, along with the countless numbers who did, Joey will always be……...the ‘King of the Roads’.
Joey was, without doubt, his own man. He didn’t like fuss, had little interest in the trappings that came with success and struggled to understand his own popularity amongst his fans. He was a loving husband and family man, yet more often than not was more at ease with his own company.
His charity work, he never talked about. Indeed very, few people, knew of his humanitarian trips to the orphanages in Romania & Bosnia - for which subsequently, he was awarded his OBE. Joey Dunlop was 48 years of age when he died on 2nd July 2000 after crashing during a race in the Republic of Estonia.
Yet such was his following, that in 2015 he finished No1 in a poll held by the Belfast Telegraph which saw it’s readers vote ‘William Joseph Dunlop’ as ‘Northern Ireland’s Greatest Sports Star’. We will not see his like again, but thankfully, his memory will live on.