P82 BMW man pushed all the way, but con­tin­ues his road rac­ing su­per­bike dom­i­na­tion in the Armoy Race of Leg­ends RACE 1

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Stephen Dav­i­son ROADS RE­PORTER

Michael Dun­lop scored his sixth straight win in the fea­ture Race of Leg­ends event at the 2016 Armoy road races last week­end. Rid­ing his su­per­stock-spec MD Rac­ing BMW S1000RR, the 27-year-old de­lighted his huge lo­cal fol­low­ing that lined the three-mile Co Antrim cir­cuit just a few miles from his home.

“It’s handy that it’s only up the road from me so I haven’t far to go home tonight,” Dun­lop smiled after dom­i­nat­ing an event that he has won ev­ery year since 2011.

“Peo­ple think I am on these roads all the time be­cause they are so close to home but I’m only around the track once a year. Maybe it’s a bit self­ish to take six wins but the club put on a good event and it’s good to come here and win the big race.”

Ear­lier in the day the 13 times TT win­ner had em­pha­sised his cur­rent su­per­bike supremacy on the roads by also claim­ing vic­tory in the Open race, although he didn’t man­age to bet­ter his 2013 out­right lap record of 106.812mph set on a Honda. With Tyco BMW’S Guy Martin giv­ing Armoy a miss this year to pur­sue his tele­vi­sion work, the Bal­ly­money man’s prin­ci­pal op­po­si­tion came from Derek Sheils on the Bur­rows Suzuki and his brother Wil­liam on the MMB Yamaha


R1. Dubliner Sheils was run­ner up in both races.

“We were strug­gling for a bit of rear grip but Michael was rid­ing well and he was al­ways go­ing to be a hard man to beat around here so I’m happy enough with sec­ond and I will go home with a tro­phy and a bit of prize money,” Sheils said.

Michael’s el­der sib­ling Wil­liam had the con­so­la­tion of pick­ing up the Man of the Meet­ing award after wins in both Su­pers­port races along­side two third places in the two big bike events on the MMB Yamaha R1 that he seems to be coming to terms with.

“It’s been a hard year but it’s fi­nally turn­ing my way,” he said.

Wil­liam was ham­pered in chal­leng­ing his kid brother in the fea­ture race by a holed ra­di­a­tor and he only man­aged to get to the start line after the race was restarted fol­low­ing a red flag in­ci­dent.

The 30-year- old, who re­cently be­came a fa­ther for the first time fol­low­ing the birth of his baby daugh­ter, has won five of the last six 600cc races run at Armoy and the open­ing Su­pers­port en­counter was a clas­sic as the two Dun­lop broth­ers bat­tled to the che­quered flag.

“I didn’t re­alise there was any­one be­hind me,” he ad­mit­ted after be­ing caught and passed by his hard- charg­ing younger sib­ling on the last lap. But it was Wil­liam and his IC Rac­ing Yamaha R6 that got the ver­dict by 0.07s after a thrilling charge to the line.

Although his Armoy per­for­mance of­fered a glim­mer of Michael’s for­mer su­pers­port bril­liance, the younger Dun­lop has strug­gled to find his pre­vi­ous form on the smaller ca­pac­ity ma­chin­ery over the last cou­ple of sea­sons. For a man who still holds the 600cc TT lap record and who once talked about the pos­si­bil­ity of lap­ping the Moun­tain course at over 130mph on a su­pers­port ma­chine, the 27-year-old’s re­cent loss of form in the class is puz­zling.

Michael Dun­lop ad­mit­ted his MD Rac­ing R6 was down on horse­power com­pared to his brother’s bike and he didn’t bother to ride in the su­pers­port races at the re­cent South­ern 100, but his per­for­mances on his stock S1000RR at Armoy will please fans who are hop­ing for a re­peat of the Dun­lop v Hutchin­son TT bat­tle at next week’s Ul­ster Grand Prix. The Bal­ly­money man was the win­ner of both su­per­bike races on the Is­land but it was Hutchy who dom­i­nated the su­per­stock class on his Ty­co­l­iv­er­ied S1000RR. Dun­lop’s re­cent wins at Sk­er­ries and Armoy have given him more time to per­fect his stocker’s set up.

“It is un­be­liev­able how hard we push to win races around here, even at over 160mph the bike is mov­ing about be­neath you and it is a bit of a hand­ful,” Dun­lop smiled after his happy home­com­ing.

“But the su­per­stock bike is work­ing good now and the Ul­ster is go­ing to be hot and heavy, there’s no doubt about that.”

‘It is un­be­liev­able how hard we push to win races here... the bike’s a real hand­ful’

A win from Michael and third from Wil­liam, both Dun­lop broth­ers made it on to the Armoy su­per­bike podium

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