THE Dunlops have once again been to the fore in Armoy.
The Dunlop name is synonymous with the local village because of the exploits of the famous Armoy Armada which contained Joey and Jim Dunlop among their numbers.
So it was fitting that at the race meeting held in homage to the Armada that the Dunlop family circle was again represented on the winners’ podium.
Michael Dunlop shattered the outright lap record at the RiverRidge Recycling Armoy road races on Saturday as the Ballymoney man upheld local pride on his home turf.
Dunlop set a blistering lap at 106.812mph on his way to victory in the Open race on his MD Racing Honda Fireblade, obliterating his previous outright lap record of 105.893mph as he beat Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin by 5.5s and Derek Sheils on Chris Dowd’s Kawasaki ZX-10R.
William Dunlop was fourth on the Milwaukee Yamaha from team-mate Conor Cummins and Jamie Hamilton on the Vauxhall KMR Kawasaki.
Seven-time Isle of Man TT winner Dunlop was unable to improve his time as he triumphed in the feature ‘Race of Legends’ finale for the third time after switching to a different compound Dunlop tyre, although he still set a new lap record for the big race at 106.015mph.
William Dunlop took the runner-up spot, seven seconds adrift, with Sheils again finishing on the rostrum in third place.
Lincolnshire man Martin made a mistake at the chicane on the opening lap and was effectively ruled out of contention, but the Suzuki star battled back through the pack to secure a fighting fourth place finish for the Moneymore outfit.
Hamilton and Derek McGee (Kawasaki) were the top six.
Dunlop said: “All credit to the organisers because they put on a good show and they have a good, all-round package there and it works.
“The weather was good, the fans turned out and everyone enjoyed themselves. It was a good day overall for me and it was nice to get the lap record, but I used a different compound tyre in the big race and we were getting a lot of slides.
“But the big Honda was working well and in that first Superbike race I sat behind Guy for a while and then I decided to pull the pin. We pushed on and broke the lap record,” added Dunlop.
“It’s just a pity we couldn’t go any faster in the Grand Final but I really enjoyed the race because the bike was sliding about everywhere.
“I hadn’t been feeling the best for a while there but now I’m looking forward to the Ulster Grand Prix and we’ll be back on it again.”
Dunlop, though, had to concede victory to older brother William in a blistering Supersport race.
There was great excitement through the day and race fans went home happy.
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