Joey Dunlop PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 10:41

William Joseph "Joey" Dunlop, MBE, OBE

Born: February 25, 1952, Ballymoney, Northern Ireland

Died: July 2, 2000, Tallinn, Estonia

Age: 47

Cause of death: Motorcycle crash.

Notable because:  Great racer of motorcycles, won 26 races at the Isle of Mann TT.

Joey Dunlop was a world champion motorcyclist, best known for road racing. In 2005 he was voted the fifth greatest motorcycling icon in history by Motorcycle News. His achievements include three hat-tricks at the Isle of Man TT meeting (1985, 1988 and 2000), where he won 26 races in total. During his career he won the Ulster Grand Prix 24 times. In 1986 he won a fifth consecutive Formula One world title.

He was awarded the MBE in 1986 for his services to the sport, and in 1996 he was awarded the OBE for his humanitarian work for children in Romanian orphanages. Dunlop would often load up his race transporter and deliver clothing and food to the trouble spots of Bosnia and Romania. His humanitarian work was often done without drawing attention

Dunlop's younger brother Robert was also killed while racing in the sport in 2008. The Dunlop brothers have also won a record number of races at the North West 200. On 4 July 2006, Dunlop was posthumously awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University (D.Univ) from the University of Ulster in Coleraine, which was accepted on his behalf by his son, Gary. His brother Robert also received an honorary Doctorate of the University. Joey was a family man first and foremost in his life who was married to his childhood sweetheart Linda and had five children: Julie, Donna, Gary, Richard and Joanne. All of his children still work in the world famous Joey's Bar in Ballymoney which has two of Joey's superbikes hanging from the ceiling.

One aspect of Dunlop's life which was never publicised was his tireless work for charity. Dunlop made endless trips to Romania to get aid to the orphans there, taking out a van load of aid for them and their carers. These were done mostly solo with Dunlop agreeing to do it on the only condition that it was organised before each racing season started. Joey stated that his proudest award was his OBE for charity rather than any achievement in his incredible racing career.

Dunlop died in Tallinn, Estonia, in 2000 while leading a 125cc race (he had already won the 750cc and 600cc events). He appeared to lose control of his bike in the wet conditions and was killed instantly on impact with trees. As a mark of respect, the Estonian government's official website was replaced with a tribute to Dunlop within hours of his death. Northern Ireland television carried live coverage of his funeral. Fifty thousand mourners attended the funeral to Garryduff Presbyterian Church, and his burial in the adjoining graveyard. The funeral procession was attended by up to 50,000 people, along with bikers from across Ireland and the United Kingdom.

A memorial statue was erected in his home town of Ballymoney, Northern Ireland. In the Isle of Man, a statue of Dunlop astride a Honda overlooks the Bungalow Bend at Snaefell and the 26th Milestone area of the TT Course has been renamed "Joey's."
Irish publishers The O'Brien Press published a full-colour pictorial tribute to Joey following his death.

Throughout his entire career Dunlop remained apolitical and anti-sectarian. He was followed and supported by both Catholics and Protestants. His funeral attracted a huge cross community turnout, both sides putting aside their differences to remember a sporting legend.

Highly superstitious, he always wore a red T-shirt and a yellow crash helmet. Northern Ireland band Therapy? made a song in memory of Dunlop, called Joey; it appeared on Shameless, which was released in 2001


Joeys Record of wins. 

Isle of Man TT.

Jubilee Classic. 1980  Classic. 1983 -F1. 1984 -F1. 1985 -F1, 250cc, Senior. 1986 -F1. 1987 -F1, Senior. 1988 -F1, 250cc, Senior. 1992 -125cc. 1993 -125cc. 1994 -125cc,250cc. 1995 -250cc,Senior. 1996 -125cc, 250cc. 1997 -250cc. 1998 -250cc. 2000 - Formula 1, 250cc, 125cc.

Other Major Wins.

Ulster Grand Prix - 24.  North West 200 - 13.   Killinchy 150 - 22.   Dundrod 150 - 2.   Southern 100 - 32.
Killalane - 6.  Steam Packet Races - 10.  Skerries 100 - 15.  Cookstown 100 - 10. Tandragee 100 - 18.            Temple 100 - 5.  Fore - 6.   Mid Antrim - 15.   Dundalk - 2.   Kells - 2.   Munster - 1.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 June 2009 10:49

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