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Michael Dunlop equals uncle Joey’s Isle of Man TT all-time record with 26th win

Michael Dunlop racing at the last year's Isle of Man TT
Dunlop claims his 26th TT victory

Michael Dunlop secured his record-equalling 26th victory at the Isle of Man TT by powering to hard-fought win in the week-opening Monster Energy Supersport race, pulling him level with uncle Joey Dunlop as the most successful rider in the event’s 114-year history.

The Northern Irishman slammed his fist on the fuel tank of his MD Racing Yamaha R6 and looked up to the skies after pulling into the winners’ enclosure on Saturday, with the emotion of the moment for once showing itself as fans celebrated loudly around him.

The 35-year-old from Ballymena secured his 12th Supersport victory since his debut in 2009, his fifth successive class win, and his 26 overall victories in 15 years have come nine years faster than Joey, who clinched his final TT win in 2000 at the age of 48, three weeks before his tragic death in an Estonian road race.

“It’s fantastic. To equal Joey’s record is something that has been playing on my mind all week, and everyone else’s,” said Dunlop afterwards.

“No matter what happens in life everybody wanted to get to that record and now I’ve done it, so it is something special.”

Dunlop admitted that he took “a few laps to bed in” to his rhythm, which allowed rivals Dean Harrison and Davey Todd to exchange the lead through the first half of the opening lap

But when Dunlop hit the front by Ballaugh on the second lap, the stars looked to be aligning for the TT’s favourite son – whose father Robert and brother William also competed at the event before their fatal accidents in 2008 and 2018 respectively.

Harrison’s opening lap of 128.037mph was bettered by Dunlop’s second tour, with a lap average of 128.833mph giving him a slender 4.559s lead as the leaders pitted. Any fears that Dunlop’s aggressive riding style would take the life out of his rear tyre – which wasn’t changed during the one and only stop in the supersport category – proved unwarranted as he controlled the advantage over Todd, who followed Dunlop past Harrison as the latter’s challenge started to fade.

Dunlop wouldn’t have it all his own way, with Todd eating into his lead through the opening half of the third lap to fuel hopes of a battle to the line. But he barely put a wheel out of place and quickly stretched the lead to come home 8.574s ahead of British Superbike regular Todd, clocking the fastest lap of the race in the process at 129.214mph.

Result

1. Michael Dunlop 1:11:19.296

2. Davey Todd +8.574

3. Dean Harrison +22.381

4. James Hiller +41.441

5. James Hind +1.445

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