Today’s motorcycle racers are world-class athletes. From Marc Marquez to Toni Bou to Eli Tomac, title-holding riders stick to a strict health and exercise regimen to remain at the top of the sport. That health-conscious trend is a recent development, though, and decorated road racer Michael Dunlop prefers the old-school approach.
As the son of five-time Isle of Man TT winner Robert Dunlop, the nephew of TT all-time great Joey Dunlop, and brother to TT rider William Dunlop, it’s safe to say that the Tourist Trophy is in Michael Dunlop’s blood. Despite losing his brother, father, and uncle to road racing crashes, the Northern Irish racer remains committed to the deadly event.
So, when the TT returned after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dunlop was there, no questions asked. Without the benefit of practice, however, many critics wrote off number 6 as he chased down his 20th IOMTT victory. Especially with his fitness level and a career exclusive to road racing, the odds looked stacked against Dunlop. Still, he didn’t let the chatter sway his resolve.
“I was probably wrote off the most, [the rider] that nobody thought could do anything,” admitted Dunlop.
Number 6 proved all the doubters wrong by capturing victories at both SuperSport races during the 2022 Isle of Man TT. That brought his win total to 21, which only trails John McGuinness with 23 victories and Michael’s uncle Joey Dunlop with 26 TT wins.
Dunlop isn’t going anywhere in 2023, either. The Northern Irishman will join forces with Hawk Racing as he sets out for yet another campaign. We may not know whether Dunlop will return to the winner’s circle, but you can count on him to bring that trademark blue-collar attitude to the TT yet again.
“It’s the TT, you just get your head down,” Dunlop added. “I’ve got three laps before I go on the beer. Can we get this over and done with quick like? Do we go and get pissed?”
When you’re a winner, yes, you do.