Supermac recalls genius of Dunlop

ULSTER road racing great Phillip McCallen paid a heartfelt tribute to Isle of Man TT legend Joey Dunlop during a special presentation at the Adelaide Racer Awards in Belfast on Friday night.

The Portadown star and Dunlop were fierce rivals on track in the '90s, providing fans with some truly incredible memories of their titanic battles primarily at the TT and the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod.

McCallen, who retired from the sport in 1999, presented the accolade to Joey's youngest daughter Joanne, who was overcome by emotion as the 500-strong crowd gave the 26-time TT winner a rousing standing ovation at the Ramada Hotel.

He described Joey as "the greatest road racer in the world" and recalled an occasion in 1998 when he was beaten by Dunlop on the Island - Yer Maun's 23rd victory on the Mountain Course.

"Honda had given me one of their new RS250s for the Isle of Man TT in 1998 and I remember Joey asking me for the lend of some parts for his bike," McCallen said.

"He went and beat me and I remember afterwards feeling so proud that Joey had won the race with my parts!

"He was just the best road racer in the world and sometimes you don't really know what you have until it's gone, and I think now everyone realises just how special Joey really was.

"If Joey wanted to beat you, he went out there and beat you - that was how he was.

"We had some great battles together and I had a lot of respect for Joey Dunlop."

The special presentation was one of the most emotional moments of a memorable evening at the annual awards bash, which was being held at the venue for the eighth time.

World Superbike ace Jonathan Rea became the most successful competitor ever at the awards as he was crowned Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for a record third time. Rea also scooped the Short Circuit Rider of the Year title.

Ian Hutchinson won the International Road Racer of the Year Award, while Relentless Suzuki won the Team of the Year distinction.

Sammy Miller MBE was inducted into the Bridgestone Hall of Fame, rising short circuit talent Glenn Irwin won the Young Rider of the Year gong and Irish Superbike champ Marshall Neill picked up the Short Circuit Merit accolade.