Michael Dunlop opens up on family pride as he closes in on TT record

Photo showing Michael Dunlop who is one win shy of his Uncle Joey's record at the Isle of Man TT
-Credit: (Image: Isle of Man TT)

All the talk this week has been if Michael Dunlop can write his name in the history books. The Ballymoney rider has claimed 25 Isle of Man TT wins in his career, just one shy of his legendary uncle's record.

Joey Dunlop has long been hailed as the 'King of the Roads', and a master of the famous Mountain Course. Now it's his nephew who can eclipse 'Yer Maun' at the top of the standings.

Michael is continually asked about the record. And in typical Dunlop fashion, he is quick to play down any hype and fanfare surrounding his own TT exploits.

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Ahead of Saturday's opening Supersport race at this year's event, Michael says he just wants to win races and continue improving himself.

He told the BBC: "I could win all eight races or I could win none. It is as simple as that. The TT is such a demanding place.

"You can only do what you can and what will be will be. I will keep pushing like no other.

Photo showing Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop has 25 Isle of Man TT wins -Credit:Isle of Man TT

"I just want to win races. I am not here to try and be better than someone who is not here. I just want to ride as fast as I can.

"Hopefully I can win more races. That's what I want to do and what is on my mind, or I wouldn't be here.

"If I wanted to break records or think I am better than someone else, I wouldn't be here. I want to come here to better myself, and not anyone else."

Joey Dunlop's Isle of Man TT record has stood for 24 years. A treble back in 2000 saw him hit the 26 mark, but the 48-year-old died one month later after crashing at a meeting in Estonia.

Michael's father Robert Dunlop, another legendary road racing icon, won five TT races but died following an accident at the 2008 North West 200. His brother William died 10 years later when competing at the Skerries road races in the Republic of Ireland.

It is incredible that Michael continues to follow his passion for road racing, in the face of unthinkable tragedy and grief.

He admits carrying the Dunlop name can be a heavy burden, but it is something that fills him with immense pride.

A picture of Ballymoney motorcycling legend Joey Dunlop
Ballymoney motorcycling legend Joey Dunlop -Credit:©INPHO

"Joey was something else, know what I mean? And to a degree it is not just Joey. My dad as well. Different breeds, different eras," he said.

"I never drove myself against those people, and everything I have done has been a bit different, too."

Michael added: "Joey is so well thought of. Always has been and always will. We are hard grafting people who in my opinion have put everything possible into a sport, or into our name as such.

"When you're the only person left carrying it [the name], it does bear a bit of a load. But I am proud where I come from. I want to be the best we can, and I am proud to be a Dunlop."

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