William Dunlop to make Manx Grand Prix debut

WILLIAM Dunlop will make his debut at the Manx Grand Prix - rebranded in 2012 as the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling - later this year.

Dunlop, who has joined Shaun Muir’s Milwaukee Yamaha team alongside Conor Cummins this season, will ride four-cylinder 500cc and 350cc Honda machines in the new Classic TT races.

The Ballymoney man will be joined by accomplished Manx Grand Pix rider Alan Oversby in the Davies Motorsport team at the event, which has attracted the cream of the TT’s leading names.

John McGuinness, Guy Martin, Michael Dunlop, Cameron Donald, Cummins and Gary Johnson are all set to contest the new-look Classic TT races as part of the festival in August.

Dunlop said he was looking forward to the challenge.

“The bikes are good and it’ll be a chance to go over there and ride on the TT course in a more relaxed atmosphere,” he said.

“I’ve never raced at the Manx before so this will be my debut.

“I remember going there with Michael [Dunlop] when he won the Newcomers race, but it always seemed cheaper for me just to go straight to the TT.

“It’ll be a good chance to get more tack time on the TT course because I’m missing out every year whenever Michael is there and I think that’s a big part of it for him, because he’s able to get more time on the circuit,” he added.

“It’s brilliant to be involved and I think you’ll see a big crowd there this year, because people like McGuinness will definitely pull in the crowds.

“The good thing is it’ll be more relaxed and there won’t be the same pressure, so it’ll be nice to go and race the bikes and have some fun.”