THE KING OF ULSTER!

William Dunlop (6) leads brother Michael out of Windmills in the early stages of the opening Lisburn City Council Superstocks race at the Ulster Grand Prix on Saturday. However it was Michael, on board a Kawasaki who clinched his first ever Grand Prix win ahead of Guy Martin and Keith Amor. INBM 33-780CS
William Dunlop (6) leads brother Michael out of Windmills in the early stages of the opening Lisburn City Council Superstocks race at the Ulster Grand Prix on Saturday. However it was Michael, on board a Kawasaki who clinched his first ever Grand Prix win ahead of Guy Martin and Keith Amor. INBM 33-780CS

MICHAEL Dunlop stole the show at the 2011 Ulster Grand Prix on Saturday with a superb hat-trick of victories.

But the Ballymoney ace feels he was denied a golden opportunity to “make history” due to mechanical problems.

Dunlop won both Supersport races and the Superstock event to complete a sizzling treble, but after his Superbike engine blew in the main Superbike race the star was denied the chance to mount a serious challenge in the premier races.

And Dunlop said he feels he could have beaten Phillip McCallen’s record of five Ulster Grand Prix wins in a day under serious threat if his Kawasaki Superbike ZX-1 had lasted the distance.

“It was a great day but the annoying thing is that my Superbike didn’t keep going.

“The bike just blew up and it’s a pity because I led that main Superbike race before it was red-flagged,” he said.

“I know Bruce was on a charge from the second group but once I hit the front I was on it and I had pulled about a second on the others in a few corners.

“I felt that history could have been on Saturday and who knows if my Superbike had kept going.

“But that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

The two Supersport races will live long in the memory as Michael battled for honours with his older brother William, rekindling memories of the days when Joey and Robert were at the peak of their powers.

“Everyone was talking about how good the racing was and the Supersport races were really hot,” Michael said.

“People were saying how well William was riding and he was riding well, but I was riding hard too.

“His bike was a lot stronger than mine but I just made it work for me and made the passes when it mattered.

“I think he didn’t think he’d left me space at the hairpin but I was able to get through,” he added.

“I think William was favourite for those 600 races because he had a strong bike and obviously he won the Superpsort race at Dundrod a few years ago.

“I felt on the day I was the best rider.”

Reflecting on the disappointment of his Superbike blow-up, Dunlop said it was the only downside of a memorable day at Dundrod.

“All my bikes were working well and if the Superbike had lasted the distance then I feel I could have won a Superbike race too.

“I went from having no wins at the Ulster Grand Prix to having three.

“I completed the set of North West, Ulster Grand Prix and TT wins and after I won that first race I was feeling really good.

“I went out and won the Supersport race and I felt really comfortable and strong,” said the 22-year-old.

“Once I won that second race I felt that I could have made history and once I got to the front of that Superbike race I felt it was mine, that I was going to win it.

“It was a disappointing day in that respect because I felt I could have put my name into the history books and done something really special.

“But I’m still delighted to get three wins and now I’ve managed to do it at all the big internationals I want to look ahead to the future now and win as many as I can.”