Michael Dunlop: I was always meant for road racing… that’s just what we do

Short circuit racing has never been high on Michael Dunlop’s priority list, but he admits he would have been interested in learning his true abilities on specially designed circuits.

His father Robert won the British 125cc Championship in 1991 as well as being one of the greatest road racers in this country, but Michael only ever nurtured one main ambition.

The 19-time Isle of Man TT winner will return to the road at Armoy later this month, almost two years since his last competition between hurdles at the Classic TT in 2019.

Dunlop will be the frontrunner at his home reunion July 30-31, when he drives the BMW SYNETIQ for Philip and Hector Neill’s TAS Racing team.

The 32-year-old carries on the proud tradition of the Dunlop road racing dynasty after tragically losing his father Robert, brother William and uncle Joey to the sport, and Dunlop says he was always meant to follow the path he’s on.

“It’s something we were raised with, it’s our family heritage – my uncle (Joey) did it, my dad did it, my other uncle Jim did it too: when you came from where I did it, that was all you had… motorcycles, ”he said.

“I’ve always wanted to ride the roads and it was always my thing to do it. I would have liked to see what it was possible to do if I took the short circuit.

“But overall the roads were our thing and that’s just what we do.”

Dunlop has racked up the miles this year, making his debut at the famed Daytona 200 in March and competing in plenty of practice days, as well as the opening round of the Ulster Superbike Championship last weekend in Kirkistown in County Down.

The Ballymoney man is also entered for this weekend’s second USBK round at Bishopscourt near Downpatrick on Saturday and Sunday.

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