William tops 2015 Duke Road Racing rankings

William Dunlop rounding Governor's Bridge in the Superbike TT. He crashed out of the TT the following day (Photo: Dave Norton)
William Dunlop rounding Governor's Bridge in the Superbike TT. He crashed out of the TT the following day (Photo: Dave Norton)

William Dunlop has won the 2015 Duke Road Race Rankings Championship, emulating his younger brother Michael who took the title in 2013.

The 24-round series, which commenced at Oliver’s Mount in April and concluded at the recent Macau Grand Prix, saw William having a season-long battle with fellow TT ace Ivan Lintin.

Lincolnshire rider Lintin, took an early lead in the series after the opening round at Scarborough, remaining in front until the North West 200 when seven-times Duke Rankings winner Ryan Farquhar went to the top of the table.

Ian Hutchinson grabbed the helm after claiming a hat-trick of wins at the TT, when William suffered a practice lap crash at Laurel Bank on the Monday of race week that put him out of the rest of the meeting, dropping him to seventh.

He returned to action at the first of the Southern Ireland rounds, Kells, regaining second in the standings after the Skerries 100 Road Races , although he did decide to sit out the more demanding diamond jubilee Southern 100.

Lintin regained the leadership after round nine, the Barry Sheene Race Festival at Oliver’s Mount, a lead he held onto until the Ulster Grand Prix when Tyco BMW man William Dunlop demoted him to second spot.

Dunlop continued to head the rankings as the European rounds were run, and concluded once again at Oliver’s Mount for the International Steve Henshaw Gold Cup in September with a mere 24 points separating the pair after 23 rounds and only Macau remaining.

Making his debut on the 3.8-mile street circuit, Lintin had to finish in the top-six to snatch the championship series away from his Ballymoney rival. In the event, Lintin had a steady debut ride to come home 18th, leaving him second in the Duke Road Race Rankings Championship.

William Dunlop is only the sixth rider to have his name engraved on the coveted Geoff Duke Trophy since its inauguration in 2002.

The top 10 in the final standing were: 1, William Dunlop 1,822 points; 2, Ivan Lintin 1,798; 3, Dean Harrison 1,716; 4, James Cowton 1,536; 5, Derek McGee 1,445; 6, Lee Johnston 1,247; 7, Michael Dunlop 1,076; 8, Guy Martin 978; 9, Ryan Farquhar 954; 10, Seamus Elliott 931; 11, Jamie Coward 909; 12, Ian Hutchinson 810; 13, Bruce Anstey 731; 14, Michal Dokoupil 635; 15, Derek Sheils 595.