Flashback: Michael Dunlop’s emotional North West 200 victory

My favourite motorsport moment could come from F1 or BTCC but due to the events of May 2008 it has to come from road racing, in particular the North West 200 250cc race.

On Thursday 15th Robert Dunlop tragically lost his life following a qualifying accident at the track where he is the most successful rider ever. His sons – William and Michael – were following him in the session but were powerless to stop him when they saw smoke coming from his bike. Robert’s bike seized and led to the fatal accident.

Although being informed they would not be allowed to race on Saturday, William – the elder of the two – decided he would be on the grid regardless. Despite the best efforts of race organisers, William took his place on the second row. After seeing this Michael made a last minute decision to join him.

For William it was not to be after his bike suffered issues prior to the race but for Michael, it became a day that will never be forgotten.

Two days after his father’s death, Michael Dunlop raced to his first ever North West 200 victory. Cheered on by the crowds he showed his intent right from the start and battled hard with his competitors in the 250cc class. When he crossed the line there was not a dry eye around the nine mile track and when the 19 year old got off his bike his emotions took over.

The road racing community were grieving for the loss of Robert but through Michael they were able to remember him for what he did best – winning at the North West 200.

“I had to do it for him, and I done it.”

Michael Dunlop – 17th May 2008

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This post was written as an entry for Autosport International's 
blogger competition: 
my favourite motorsport moment from the past 25 years.
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