Gary Dunlop decides to sit out 2018 season

Gary Dunlop won his maiden road race last year at Killalane.
Gary Dunlop won his maiden road race last year at Killalane.

Gary Dunlop has confirmed he won’t race this season with the Ballymoney man instead focusing on running the Joey’s Bar MCC team.

Dunlop only made his roads debut in 2016 and last year he clinched his maiden victory at Killalane in the Moto3/125GP race on the Joey’s Bar M3 machine.

Earlier in the season, he sealed his first podium at the Skerries 100 on the weekend of the 17th anniversary of his legendary father Joey’s fatal accident in Estonia in July 2000.

Revealing his decision to sit out the 2018 season on his Facebook page, Dunlop wrote: “After a lot of thinking over the last few months, I’ve decided I won’t be racing in 2018. Hard decision for me to make but last year was a really tough year on and off the bike for me, and I wasn't enjoying things at all.

“But the Joey’s Bar MCC team will still be running Derek McGee all year and hopefully we’ll have another bike out for a couple of meetings as well. Big thanks to everyone who has been helping me and the team and continues to do so.”

The 33-year-old initially decided to make his debut on the roads in 2016 after a suggestion by his cousin William.

At the time, he told the News Letter: “William [Dunlop] had sort of said to me ‘why not go and ride and put another 125 bike out there on the grid’. I’m smaller and fitter now than what I was when I was 18 and there’s not as much pressure now either, so I’ll got out and enjoy it without any expectations.”