Michael Dunlop powered to victory in the Senior TT to clinch his fourth win at the Isle of Man in a week that saw him take his overall tally to 11 victories, but his final showing was made all the more impressive after seeing his brother William crash out in spectacular circumstances.
As Michael led Ramsey-born Conor Cummins and Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin, William was battling the latter two for a podium finish. But after missing the apex as he flicked into the high-speed Graham Memorial section of the 37-mile course, Dunlop started to drift alarmingly towards the outside of the circuit.
Realising that he wasn’t going to make the corner, Dunlop laid his Tyco Suzuki down just metres before going off-road and hitting the mountain surface hard, launching both bike and rider into the air. Thankfully, news filtered through quickly that he was conscious and had manage to get himself off the tract, but not before Cummins sped round as the next bike along.
Michael was overheard to be asking about William's condition as he made his final pit-stop, and admitted after that the accident was the only thing on his mind during the final laps.
Dunlop suffered a broken leg in the incident, but was soon patched up after a visit to Nobles Hospital on the Isle of Man and returned to the course to join in celebrations with his brother and man of the meeting Michael. William has since returned to his home in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland.
“I had been suffering a bit of arm pump all week and I think the extra tension of leading and being in contention for the win made it worse,” said the 28-year-old.
“I just ran in with a little bit of throttle still on and the rest well...
“I could hardly feel the bars, but when you get signal boards saying you are first or second, there's no way you are going to back off.”
In a sport made up of fearless and brave men and women, Dunlop was quick to play down the injury, adding: “It's just the small bone in my leg I've broken and I'm a little battered and bruised but I hope to be ready to ride in four weeks."
His best result came in the second Supersport race of the week as he clinched third position, finishing behind brother Michael once again and New Zealand’s Bruce Anstey.
With Michael moving on to 11 overall wins, he now sits 15 behind his uncle and Isle of Man TT legend Joey Dunlop, whose 26 wins around the mountain course remains the benchmark for every rider to aim for.
‘King of the Mountain’ John McGuinness suffered a frustrating week as he continues to recover from a wrist injury picked up earlier in the year, but there was reason to celebrate on Wednesday as he saw off Anstey to win the TT Zero race and take his overall tally to 21 victories, just five short of Dunlop’s record.