William Dunlop: Versatile competitor one of the greatest road racers ever


William Dunlop, from Ballymoney in Northern Ireland, has died of injuries sustained from a crash during practice for the Skerries 100 road races. The older brother of Michael Dunlop, William was the son of Robert Dunlop and nephew of the great Joey Dunlop, both of whom also died while racing.

The Loughshinny Motor Cycle Supporters Club said in a statement: "The Loughshinny Motorcycle Supporters Club, organisers of the Skerries 100, deeply regrets to announce that competitor William Dunlop of Ballymoney, Co".

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the family".

Liam Beckett, a former mechanic of Robert Dunlop and close friend of the family, said he was "heartbroken" over the tragic death. Antrim, William's hometown, described the news of his death "absolutely devastating".

It is believed that William Dunlop was riding an R1 Yamaha bike when he crashed on part of the circuit known as Sam's Tunnel at approximately 5pm on Saturday.

Members of motorcycle racing community have been left devastated and flowers have been laid at the Dunlop memorial garden in Ballymoney.

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William sat out of the International TT race just a few weeks ago to be with his pregnant partner.

"Everyone's thoughts are with the family".

DUP leader Arlene Foster said she was "shocked and saddened by the passing of NI's talented sporting legend, William Dunlop".

Not only did William clinch countless wins at the smaller road races, he was also able to make the step up at global level, like Joey and Robert before him and just as his younger brother Michael has done over the past 10 years.

Dunlop made no secret of his love for the Dundrod course at the Ulster Grand Prix and it was here where William's class really shone through.