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Re: Random motorcycle news

Post by Andy » 4 months ago

Last post from previous page:

It is with great regret to announce the passing of Adrien Protat, 27, during the 2nd race of the French Superbike Championship at Le Mans yesterday. Adrien was son to Frederic Protat, a former racer himself for the GMT94 team in the endurance world championship.

Rest In Peace, Adrien
:rip:

Source: http://www.fsbk.fr/communique-officiel- ... ocyclisme/

translated by https://translate.google.com/
OFFICIAL RELEASE OF THE WESTERN CLUB AUTOMOTIVE AND THE FRENCH MOTOCYCLISM FEDERATION

In the second Supersport race of the French Superbike Championship this Sunday in Le Mans, a dramatic accident occurred at 15:45.

On the first lap, Adrien Protat dropped to the level of the Dunlop bridge.

The driver was immediately taken care of at the scene of the accident by the medical officers of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest.

In a serious state, Adrien Protat was transferred to the Medical Center of the Circuit where he died shortly after his arrival, following his injuries.

Adrien Protat, 27, was originally from Lyon and was part of the FP Racing team.

The Automobile Club of the West and the French Motorcycling Federation in agreement with the Race Direction and the delegates of the drivers of the race suspended the rest of the event.

The ACO and the FFM wish to express their great sadness following this tragedy and offer their deepest condolences to the family and friends of Adrien Protat.

The COA and the FFM will not comment until the precise circumstances of the accident are fully determined.
If you are not willing to risk the unusual,you will have to settle for the ordinary-Jim Rohn

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Post by kals » 4 months ago

Very sad, RIP

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Post by Everso Biggyballies » 4 months ago

Indeed. RIP :rip:
*"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace"- Jimi Hendrix.

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Post by Andy » 4 months ago

A pretty interesting series of excerpts from Michael Dunlops forthcoming autobiography as well as some good reviews has been released on The Belfast Telegraph website . It can be found at http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/ ... 90114.html
Michael Dunlop: My depression secret and the struggle to keep a roof over mum's head - the bailiff came and said banks had claimed back the house

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Michael Dunlop and his mum Louise
At the end of 2013 I decided to hang up my helmet - for good. My walking away from the roads was nothing to do with money and everything to do with money. Aye, I was p****d off at Honda but I realised they were the tip of the iceberg. The things on my mind would sink the Titanic.


The problem, I have to admit now, is that I never dealt with things as they crept up on me. Maybe if I'd told Honda what I needed more money for, they'd have struck a deal better suited to my needs. Because I wasn't after big bucks to spend on booze and birds. I just wanted to keep a roof over my Ma's head.

Read More: True bravery of Michael Dunlop is in his words, not in his road racing exploits

Michael Dunlop: Everyone thinks their dad is unbreakable...I was watching my dad die. I just didn’t know it

Michael Dunlop: I'm not one to hold back in a race or in life, I'd rather tell the truth, get it out there; I don't tell lies... in the book I wanted to set it out the way it is

In 2013 our time ran out. The bailiff knocked on the door and said the banks had claimed back the house. Mum was alone when they came. I'd have lamped them if I'd been there, even if they were just doing their jobs. You don't terrorise someone like that. We had to pack our bags and get out. As simple as that. We both found little places that weren't what you'd call "home".

I let the problems build up, I know I did. When I was racing I was doing so well that the real world didn't touch me. I ignored the s**t going on with the house, with Dad's estate, his memorial, everything. It was denial, plain and simple. The debt collector was ringing every day but while I was on the track he couldn't touch me. He couldn't get into my helmet. There was no phone in there. But at the end of the year, when I took the helmet off, it felt like the floodgates had opened - as though I'd been Moses parting the Red Sea but now it was all about to come crashing down. And there wasn't a thing I could do.

I was lost to the point that I didn't know where it would end. There were all these things going on and I was just being worn down from every side. It starts gradually and then builds up. When so much stuff is punching you at once, it's very hard to see anything positive between the blows.

When the Honda thing fell through I couldn't actually be bothered fighting any more. I couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel. I didn't realise it but racing was my crutch. My enabler, I think you'd call it. I had reached such heights in 2013 that below was a long way down. And I fell all the way without a parachute.

I never spoke to anyone about what I was going through. I'm a man in a man's world. The only person I could discuss things with, apart from my dogs, was myself. I've never told a soul about any of this before now. I'll be interested to see how it goes down. I can't be the only man who's felt everything slip away yet not care enough to stop it; the only boy who's felt like he was in the eye of a hurricane and just wanted to curl up and hide.

* * *

At the start of 2014 things were bleak. I'd sold my bikes or locked them away. The banks were putting Mum's old house up for auction. There was nothing on the horizon worth looking at. I just wasn't interested. Still the phone kept ringing, though. I'd ignore the calls, then look at numbers. I noticed one number kept calling. For days on end it kept ringing. Eventually I picked up (it was someone with the offer of a new bike who wouldn't take no for an answer)...

And that is how I got back into bikes. It all snowballed from there. Other things were beginning to sort themselves out as well. Our old house hadn't yet sold at auction and I wanted it to remain like that until I could get some cash together to make my own bid. Eventually the bank lost patience with the lack of bids and I was able to get the house myself.

My Dad's legacy, the house that Robert built, was staying in the family. It was an emotional time. Apart from the bikes, that house was our connection with our Dad. Over the course of a few weeks I felt a bit of light beginning to shine in my head again. The light at the end of the tunnel, I suppose.

Mum was happy to have the house back in the family on principle - that word again - but she didn't want to live there any more. It was too big and there were too many memories of Dad, so we found her a nice, smaller place she could rent and make her own.

As for me, I took a slice of the old grounds and decided I'd follow in Dad's footsteps and build my own home. I rented out the main house to pay for it. It would take a couple of years but I loved getting out there, personally taking every job as far as I could then getting the experts in to finish it off. The skills I learned. I can't think of anything more satisfying. When it was finally ready to move into it, the first thing I did was put my TT trophies in pride of place on the wide mantelpiece, all seven of them. They looked the business, but there was space for plenty more.

Joey and Robert

Joey Dunlop, the boy from Ballymoney, was untouchable at every circuit he raced. But the one where he was the undisputed master isn't in Ireland at all. The Isle of Man Touring Trophy is the pinnacle of the sport.

Between 1977 and 2000 he won 26 races around the mountain circuit - a record that stands today. Uncle Joey was a trailblazer, no mistake, but he wasn't the only one dragging the town into the headlines. When Joey brought home another winged lady trophy there wasn't a prouder person in all of Ballymoney than his wee brother.

Eight years younger, Robert idolised his big brother, like everyone did. Scratching around for something to do with his own life, Robert decided he'd follow in Joey's footsteps, but by anyone's standards those are some boots to fill. The weight of the Dunlop name, people said, would be too great for him. The media, even my grandad, they all said he needed to find his own way in life or forever be compared to big brother Joe. And maybe they would have been right, assuming that all Robert wanted to do was win.

To a degree I think Dad chose to ride because the craic - the good time - was there. The boys are away every weekend, having a laugh, drinking beer, chasing women, and he wanted a slice of that. So he took up the bike as a way to get in on the fun. That's my honest opinion.

Then a thing happened: my dad realised he was actually good at it. Bloody good. Joey Dunlop fans are not going to like this, but a lot of experts said that Dad was a rare talent. On plenty of tracks he was every bit as good as Joey, and maybe on some days even better.

I'm not saying that to disrespect Joey in any way, because he was the undisputed king of the roads. He was The Man. Our entire family owes everything to that boy, as does our town. But I think if my dad had come to racing earlier in his life he might have made more of a name for himself...

While Joey had a reputation for being withdrawn and quiet, Dad was happy to live up to his title as the 'George Best of racing'. But that was a bit of a con, to tell the truth. When Dad was trying to make his way out of Joey's shadow, it was actually my mum who suggested he try to come out of his shell a bit and grab a few headlines.

Racing is a very private sport; you need your own people and your own space around you. But if Joey had a problem on his bike, he knew there was one man on the grid who'd give up his own engine if it meant his hero getting over the finish line first. And afterwards they'd both go for a glass of red wine with the boys, both get a bit lairy, and when the journalists came sniffing for a quote, Robert would be the man leading the singing and dancing. Joey loved that. The fewer the people wanting a word with him, the happier he was.

They were peas in a pod, Joey and Robert. They'd walk over hot coals for a sniff of a race and I think that's what people respected.

I've been into pubs in the middle of nowhere and there's a photo of one or both of them on the wall. I've been in Hong Kong and had people who don't speak English shake my hand because of those boys.

I've even experienced a couple of scenarios where I've had strangers go down on their knees and bow to me, in Ballymoney and beyond. So, yeah, Dunlop country is a thing. No pressure on the rest of us then.

Joey dead

It tore the town apart, no word of a lie. Strangers were hugging each other and crying in the streets. No one could believe that Joey was gone. It was July 2, 2000. My uncle's racing over in Tallinn, Estonia, and the conditions are wet to say the least. These days the TT won't run if the weather's bad, but it used to, and so did the other events.

No one really knows what occurred. It was nothing to do with not knowing the track, because Joey had already won the 750cc race and the 600. He was going for the hat-trick on the 125 when his bike left the road and smashed into the nearby trees. There were no spectators there. It's only when he didn't go past his next checkpoint that questions began to be asked.

Obviously they rang my Dad. He was over with Joey's family like a shot. There was all the practical stuff to attend to. First things first, they needed to get the body back to the UK. Telling his mum was the worst. You should never bury your own children and that woman, May, had suffered enough with my Dad's injuries and Uncle Jim's as well.

The worst thing for her and Grandad Willy was having no time to themselves. It's all right lovely strangers commiserating on your loss when you nip out to buy some bread, but they had no time to grieve themselves. They were in the spotlight from the moment the news about Joey hit Ballymoney.

It was well intended but not right. Everyone was in shock. Even at 48, Uncle Joey was flying that year. He'd recently won his third hat-trick at the TT so you'd never say he was losing his touch. It didn't make sense. Whereas my Dad was unbreakable - no pain, no accident could stop him - Uncle Joey just never crashed. He never had any of those moments that dot every racer's career. The boy just never made mistakes.

I remember the mood in the house being awful. No one spoke for ages. I think in case we started crying. It was terrible.

Flowers kept arriving and you'd again be reminded why. My dad was not given to tears but you could see he was hurting worse than when he'd come off his bike himself. The whole town shut down. Everyone felt they knew Joey. He'd done so much for them, they wanted to give something back.

On the day of the funeral there couldn't have been a house with a soul in. Everyone turned out. And not just from Ballymoney. People travelled from all over the country. And of course, more than ever, bikers were welcome. Among the 50,000 mourners a good few were on two wheels.

The procession to Garryduff Presbyterian Church was like something out of a film. You'd think the Queen had died. My dad went in the main car. I walked ahead with my cousin Ben, Jim's son. We were dying inside but it was Joey's kids we really felt for. We'd lost an uncle. Those boys and girls a dad. I couldn't imagine how that must feel.

All I knew is I never wanted to find out.

ADAPTED BY LAURENCE WHITE

Get 30% off the price of Road Racer by Michael Dunlop (RRP £20) at Belfast Telegraph Studio https://www.belfasttelegraphstudio.co.u ... dio.co.uk/
If you are not willing to risk the unusual,you will have to settle for the ordinary-Jim Rohn

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Post by Andy » 4 months ago

A Belfast Telegraph column on MD's forthcoming autobiography. I`ll soon post parts 1 & 3 of aboves excerpts.

First things first. Here`s the column http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opini ... 91046.html
True bravery of Michael Dunlop is in his words, not in his road racing exploits
Death, loss, despair, depression... total honesty of bike ace's autobiography makes him a real hero in my book, writes Gail Walker

April 4 2017

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Whether we follow the sport or not — in fact, whether we regard it as a sport or not, or just as an odd way to get maimed or even killed — there is no doubt that road racing is a task for people of exceptional character.

It re-enacts one of the most basic of human challenges — the high risk dalliance with speed — which leaves the rest of us amazed and appalled by turns.

That’s just the way it is for all the riders and their support teams.

But every now and then the sport achieves what can only be described as greatness — of the sort that inspires awe and respect and astonishment, and even devotion and love.

None of these words fall easily on the shoulders of those various plain-spoken Antrim men going by the name of Dunlop. We know the tales now of Joey and Robert and Michael and William and Gary… the incredible feats of endurance and bravery against the wind and the road, the ghastly fatalities, the bone-crushing injuries, the widows, the legacy…

All that has entered into the folklore not only of the locale in which the passion for speed was developed, but worldwide, as a kind of emblem of risk-taking, stubbornness, courage and plenty of style.

But just when you think we’ve heard it all about the Dunlop clan, just when you think there can be no more risks, unexpected chance-taking or surprising turn-ups, it has to be said that Michael Dunlop — son of the late Robert and nephew of the late Joey — has possibly topped them all in every one of those categories and this time without putting his backside on a motorbike saddle, but by sitting at a keyboard and telling the honest, plain-spoken truth about his life, his passions, his flights from reality and his despair.

His story — exclusively serialised in this paper — is astonishing. Not because anything in it — aside from the fuel-soaked glamour of the road — is unique.

Depression, fear, anxiety, insecurity, emotional paralysis — these are as common as the grass and have driven many people over the edge.

No, what is special is the blunt, head-on, clear-eyed, honest self-exposure Michael doesn’t shy away from in making sure his story gets told.

Most sports biographies focus exclusively on the public glories, not the fears, mistakes, anxieties. Facts, not feelings, are the order of the day. If there are difficulties, they will have been well-aired previously. Scandal may have prompted the revelation and the tell-all ends up being a catalogue of excuses or a round of poor-me’s.

Not so with Dunlop. Yes, there were public fallings-out over the Dunlop memorial garden, and strained relations with Honda, his motorcycle team.

But none of those couldn’t be put down to ordinary family tensions in the wake of bereavement or professional haggling.

What Michael tells now is the human cost of all those losses, struggles and tensions. His candid admissions about why he quit Honda and his financial troubles are remarkable. “Maybe if I’d told Honda what I needed more money for, they’d have struck a deal better suited to my needs. Because I wasn’t after big bucks to spend on booze and birds. I just wanted to keep a roof over my Ma’s head. In 2013 our time ran out. The bailiff knocked on the door and said the banks had claimed back the house.”

Who knew? And in any case, how would we as a society have reacted if we’d known such bad times were threatening the Dunlops — to all of whom we as a society owe so much for sustained moments of pride, exhilaration and simple decent goodness, without even a tinge of the indigenous nasty sectarian touch that seems to pollute practically everything here.

All those questions we used to ask — how can that family endure such losses, how does a widow watch her sons race — were, in fact, all the right ones. There was a moment — and it is there to be seen even in that astonishingly brilliant 2014 Doubleband documentary Road, narrated by Liam Neeson — when it actually began to look as though this family of Dunlops was literally to be killed, one by one, in front of our eyes, like some classical tragedy, and all we were to do was stand there, open-mouthed.

The answers to those questions are all the same: those losses almost destroyed that family, quite literally.

Michael is candid about the thousands of well-wishers who contacted the Dunlop family on Joey’s death, and his dad’s, and gives an insight into the chilly world where not even a torrent of sympathy can mellow even slightly the savage emotions of grief.

In fact, the public sympathy became intolerable itself. “I didn’t realise it,” he says, “but racing was my crutch. My enabler, I think you’d call it. I had reached such heights in 2013 that below was a long way down. And I fell all the way without a parachute. I never spoke to anyone about what I was going through. I’m a man in a man’s world. The only person I could discuss things with, apart from my dogs, was myself.”

Suddenly, the drive to get out on the road was an escape mechanism for someone who simply wasn’t coping and for whom there was no context to talk out the problems. It makes you wonder how you can begin to calculate the extent of someone else’s loneliness.

How many people, men especially, are locked in such a psychological vice, feeling hemmed-in by everyday family difficulties or the pressures of debt and expectation? How many men might be helped by someone with all the panache of Michael going public about depression?

But this autobiography isn’t an apology or a way of shifting blame onto other people. This Dunlop points the finger firmly at himself. Indeed, he points out that the largely self-contained world of motorbike racing allowed him to hide from his problems: “I let the problems build up, I know I did. When I was racing I was doing so well that the real world didn’t touch me. “I ignored the s**t going on with the house, with Dad’s estate, his memorial, everything. It was denial, plain and simple. The debt collector was ringing every day but while I was on track he couldn’t touch me. He couldn’t get into my helmet. There was no phone in there.”

In losing more or less everything, Michael shows that the black and white certainties of sport don’t blot out the messiness of real life. It will always be there waiting for you — champion or no.

The point is, though, from the very centre of the single most macho sport on Earth, the most unreflective, most headlong and reckless culture anyone could devise, fuelled by utter self-belief and utter disregard for danger — it takes a Dunlop, once again, to break out from the pack and head out onto the open road with breathtaking honesty and self-analysis.

In its own peculiar way, this book is a classic. When Michael had finally managed to secure his dad’s house for his mother, he put his own TT trophies on the mantelpiece — all seven of them at that time, with room for more.

I think this terrific book can be set up there beside them, because, in spite of all the plaudits and titles and garlands and Champagne, it may well be Michael Dunlop’s single biggest achievement.

Belfast Telegraph
If you are not willing to risk the unusual,you will have to settle for the ordinary-Jim Rohn

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Post by Andy » 4 months ago

Now Part 3 of the excerpts to be found at http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/ ... 87650.html
Michael Dunlop: Everyone thinks their dad is unbreakable...I was watching my dad die. I just didn’t know it

April 3 2017
Image

In the first of our edited excerpts from the searingly frank life story of bike ace Michael Dunlop, the Ballymoney man tells how he cradled his dying father Robert after a crash during practice at the North West 200, and why he raced two days later.

Going into the North West 200 in mid-May I was pretty confident I’d put in a performance or two. We all set off that week as competitors. Me, William and my dad. The three of us were in the same race, the 250. People were tipping my dad for the win. Thursday practice came round. For some reason there was a delay and we finally got going around eight o’clock. It was late by our standards. I wasn’t sure we’d get the full session in. As it turned out, we didn’t.

We set off in groups according to ability. William, my dad and Darren Burns — if my memory serves me right — were away first. William broke down at University Corner, so that left the two of them. I was a group or two back. I was going okay on my first lap when I got round Ballysally Roundabout.

I’m getting to grips with the bike and surface, minding my own business, when suddenly I notice the marshals are waving red flags. That’s not good. You just knew something had happened. Sometimes under a red flag you’re told to stop where you are. Other times you can pootle around until you get back to the pits and you can stop there. On this occasion we were waved on but slowly.

Up I come through Islandtasserty, still none the wiser about the flags, through Maddeybenney. Only when I get to Mather’s Cross is there any sign of action. I can see right up in the distance there’s a bike in the road — bits of bike actually. I’m thinking, s**t, something’s gone on here.

As I get closer I see a man lying next to what’s left of his bike. I slow even more, of course, and crawl closer and closer to the scene.

That’s when I notice. That’s when it hits me. The man lying next to the broken bike is my dad. And he is not moving

S**t. S**t. S**t. You’re flying on adrenaline and that’s all your brain can come up with. I screamed to a halt, threw my bike against a bale of hay and ran over to my dad. He was alone. There was no one with him yet. But at least he was alive.

It’s all a bit of a blur. I remember trying to undo his helmet. I could see he was struggling for breath. He was making signs that he was hurt. I grabbed his hand and told him: “I’m here. You’re gonna be okay.” But what the f**k did I know really? I’m no medical man. I hate hospitals.

I looked up the road and saw two bikes screaming their way towards us. It was Dr John Hinds (who was killed in a bike crash at a race meeting in July 2015) and his colleague Dr Fred MacSorley.

You could not wish for better medical attention than those boys will give. I stayed right where I was until the doctors were ready to take over, then I moved back 10 or so feet to give them the space they needed.

It was May 15, 2008. And I was watching my dad die. I just didn’t know it.

Everyone thinks their dad is unbreakable. I knew mine was. He’d tried enough times. The man was Robocop, no question. As bad as he looked on the ground — and there was blood everywhere — I was convinced he’d pull through. He always did. The man was a boomerang. He kept coming back. And he would again, that’s what I kept telling myself. I could see full well how serious it was but you can trick your mind into pretending everything is all right until you are told otherwise. That’s what I did.

It seemed like forever before two ambulances pulled up for my dad and the other fella involved. The doctors climbed in after them. I was not invited nor did I ask to go. I wanted no distractions, I wanted all their concentration to be on helping dad fight the fight.

I’ve fallen off my bike many times and occasionally seriously damaged myself. But none of my injuries hurt me more than standing there helpless watching that man in such obvious pain. I totally forgot where I was. I was numb. This is where the human body is a marvellous thing, because I’m holding it together on the outside but inside I am shocked, I’m scared, I’m completely drained, empty of emotion or energy. I’ve switched off.

Nothing’s coming in or out.

The next thing I remember with certainty is arriving at Coleraine Hospital about 10 minutes away from the track. I got out of a car, still in my leathers. William was just walking through the entrance when I got there. I followed him and a nurse told us that my dad had been taken straight to surgery. She also said my mum had been contacted. “You’d better call my gran as well,” I said. Pure autopilot, that response. “Aye, we’ve done that. Don’t worry yourself.”

She directed us to a small waiting room but I took one look at that tiny, confined space and I thought: “Those four walls are not going to help.” I needed to be outside. William got there before me. He had a couple of his people with him, I was on my own. I stood where I was for a few moments and he did the same.

We didn’t say a thing to each other. What can you say? There were no words. He had that look of emptiness in his eyes, like me. You wonder, looking back, why you didn’t hug or say something, but we were not operating properly. The lights were on but no bugger was home.

When you’re in that vacant place, time has no meaning. I could have been standing there seconds, minutes or hours when the door opened and a doctor came out. As soon as I saw him, I knew what he was going to say. You know by the expression. His mouth was moving and you’re not really hearing what he says, but it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t need to say a word because you’ve grasped everything from the face.

He went back inside and I just stood there like a statue. What else was I going to do? My dad, my best friend, my hero had gone.

The next day, Friday, was open house. It was also open casket. Dad was there, in his box, in the upstairs room. Mourners came in their droves to pay their respects. This is when my mum showed that she was the strongest of us all, because William took himself out to the garage for the entire time and I disappeared out into the fields. The wilderness surrounding our house matched my mood.

I’d tried to be a man and help mum out but I saw too many faces walk through that front door that I knew full well hated my dad and they hated us. A***holes, the lot of them. Making no bones about loathing us, then coming to our home and pretending to be sorry? Two-faced people make my blood boil and I would not stay in the same building as them.

Not then. Not on that day of days. It sticks in the craw, it really does. When you’re grieving you’re expected to let any Tom, Dick or Harry into your house, but I couldn’t stomach it so I left. Don’t get me wrong, 99% of the people who came in were genuinely great people who loved my dad.

Maybe I should have stayed. But I think — no, I know — I would have said a word or two to some of those folk and it would have upset my mum.

RACING

Come Saturday I had my decision. But I wasn’t the only person who’d made one. I remember getting to the circuit and the organisers saying they didn’t want us to race. The stewards had had a meeting and they’d decided we were mentally unfit to be in control of a vehicle. The clerk of the course came over and tried to talk to us like we were wee boys.

I wasn’t having it. “Are you kidding me? My dad died on this circuit. He holds the record for the most wins around this s**thole. You asked my mother if you should cancel out of respect and she gave you permission to go ahead. I’ll be racing today and that’s the end of it.” Or words to that effect. I don’t think he was my biggest fan before and he definitely wasn’t after. But the boy stood firm. We were not racing on his watch, that was the end of it. I wanted to lamp him, I really did. I was that emotional I could have done. But what I didn’t know was that the matter was being taken out of his hands.

So while I’m arguing the toss with the course jobsworth, Norman and Armand (Michael’s bike owners) are pushing everybody out the road and getting that Honda on to the grid. Obviously everyone around us is coming over, offering their condolences, just letting us know they’re thinking of dad and the family. And that puts the stewards in a tricky position. They’d already banned us but they knew if they got heavy-handed and tried to take our bikes off the grid, there’d be a mutiny.

Finally the klaxon goes and I get on the bike and put my helmet on. The silence is deafening. It’s beautiful. The bulls**t around me just disappears. It was as if somebody had just lifted all the weight off my shoulders. It was like being given a shot of general anaesthetic. Everything faded away. All the drama was over. Now I just wanted to get on to the warm-up.

Off we go. I’m suddenly aware of being on a bike. It’s the first time I’ve known where I was, really, in 48 hours. The words I imagined my dad saying to me about getting back on the bike never sounded more true. I needed to race, I realised that now. It’s the one thing I can be in control of. I couldn’t control my dad’s life or his death. I couldn’t control the media or anyone who came to visit our house. But I could point that bike where I wanted it and I could make it sing.

When I get back round to the grid, Ronnie comes over. “Michael,” he says, “William is out. He broke down again on the warm-up lap.” Ah, s**t. The boy’s gutted. I know that without speaking to him because I know how I would feel in his position. We’re there to honour our dad. How can you do that if you don’t race?

We’re meant to do this together. It felt like I was caught with my pants down. But it’s too late to fix anything. William leaves and, bang, we start. I’m nineteen years old, I’m raring to go, but somehow I’m only second off the line. Power down, the back wheel skids. For the first 10 yards my right leg trails the ground, just in case. It’s over in a second, the uncertainty. First gear, second, third, fourth while I’m still in Millbank Avenue. Tucking down for the right-hander, then left again at Primrose Hill. At least that’s what it looks like.

The truth is, I have almost no recollection. You can find the race online or on DVD. That’s the only way I know what happened. I remember nothing until the last lap. Zero. Zip. Nada. I’m just sitting there, coasting. I’ve never raced like it before. I’m on autopilot. I don’t think I even noticed going through Mather’s Cross. If I did, I can’t recall. My dad was in my head, in my heart. That’s how I remembered him. Not lying by the side of the road. What I do know is, I won. I was doing it for him. Everything I ever did in my life was done for him.

I’ve watched myself on the BBC climb off the bike and I just stare, like a zombie. There’s nothing in my head. Just pain, I think. That’s what the tears say to me. I climb off the bike and drop down, hiding behind it like I’m praying. My legs don’t have the energy to keep me up. My heart doesn’t have the strength to hear all the well-wishers tell me what I already know: that my dad would be so proud. At some point my visor comes down and the floodgates open. No one can see it but you know it’s there.

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If you are not willing to risk the unusual,you will have to settle for the ordinary-Jim Rohn

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Post by Andy » 4 months ago

And Part 1 to be found http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/life/ ... 83820.html
Michael Dunlop: I'm not one to hold back in a race or in life, I'd rather tell the truth, get it out there; I don't tell lies... in the book I wanted to set it out the way it is

By Steven Beacom

April 1 2017

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Michael Dunlop with his Bennetts Suzuki GSXR superbike

Ahead of our exclusive serialisation of his warts-and-all autobiography, Michael Dunlop explains why he has decided to lay bare his life and how he misses his father Robert - tragically killed in a racing crash - every day.

Michael Dunlop doesn't care one hoot how people see him. He's straight on that. Adamant. You can like him or loathe him. No bother.

In a world where most well-known personalities want to feel loved, there's something to be said for having that kind of take me or leave me attitude.

Talking to the 27-year-old motorcycling star from Ballymoney, he is not for changing any time soon, if at all.

Dunlop is one of the best in the business at what he does. He still feels the joy of being on a bike that he's had since he was a child but, as he races around roads at breakneck speeds, his biggest thrill comes from winning.

Some will tell you he'll do anything to be on the top step of the podium. Those same people see him as wild. For others he is daring. What is in no doubt is he is immensely talented and a master of his craft.

Ask Michael about his riding style and he'll tell you: "I'm just the boy who will go that wee bit extra."

Having chalked up 13 Isle of Man TT victories already, broken a host of records on the famous circuit and come home first numerous times at other big meetings such as the North West 200, going that "wee bit extra" has served him well.

Son of the late, great Robert and nephew to the iconic Joey, who also is no longer with us, Michael was determined to become part of the Dunlop racing dynasty. Along with older brother William, he has done just that.

For all those who put on a helmet and leathers to compete and risk their lives, the Dunlops remain the biggest attraction in Northern Ireland racing and beyond.

Last year William, a successful and gifted rider himself, told me becoming a dad changed his perspective on what he does. Michael still has the same ferocious desire that has been in him since he started out.

We are chatting as the sound of motorbikes roar in the background at Donington Park, where he is taking a break from speed practice for a British Championship round having joined the Bennetts Suzuki team for the season.

Dunlop is not a big lover of interviews. He can find them tiresome. The occasion for this one relates to the upcoming publication of his autobiography Road Racer: It's In My Blood, which is being exclusively serialised by the Belfast Telegraph, starting on Monday. It's an emotional, explosive and stunning account of Michael's eventful life to date. Bikes fans will love it, but this book is so much more than a sportsman detailing his incredible success and how he feels about it. Road Racer delves deep into the heart and mind of Dunlop and the tragedies he and his family have had to suffer and come to terms with.

I've read countless sporting autobiographies, with John McEnroe's candid life story You Cannot Be Serious the best of the bunch, but Dunlop's Road Racer, for sheer aching honesty, is up there with it.

Like the way he races, the book, ghosted by Jeff Hudson, is fast paced leaving everything out there for all to see. There's also a love story element, well three of them, with his adoration of his dad, motorcycling and the Isle of Man TT races to the fore.

In the Belfast Telegraph's exclusive serialisation you will read about:

• The day Michael's dad Robert died and the pain for him, his mum Louise and his family.

• Why Michael decided to race at the North West just two days after his dad's passing.

• Dealing with depression and quitting the sport he loved.

• The relationship between Joey and Robert Dunlop.

• Michael's favourite victory ever, and much more...

As we speak, my first question to Michael is why he wanted to write this book? The answer was typically frank.

"Everybody asks you the same questions, whether you are at events or races, and I think it was easier to put it all down in a book. Then everybody could get the answers they were looking for," he said.

"For years I have heard the same questions: why did you do this? Why did you do it that way? What were you thinking then? What was going through your mind at that moment?

"So, I decided to put it all out there about my life, and that's what is in the book."

On revealing all, even in the darkest hours, Dunlop stated: "I've never been one to hold back. I'd rather tell the truth and get everything out there. I don't want to tell lies because when you start that you end up getting lost in your lies. When you tell the truth there is nowhere to hide, and that's what I look to do in my life. I just wanted to set it out the way it is."

Whether the book changes some people's perception of him is irrelevant.

"I don't care how people see me and it will make no difference to me how they will feel about me after reading the book. I'm not bothered about that. People have their own opinions of me and I'm not sure them reading this book will change that," he said.

"There are haters in life and there are people who will like you. You have to live with that. At the end of the day I wanted to do the book this way. I haven't hid behind any doors and I was plain enough and straight enough about how different things in my life happened."

On the emotion of it all and writing about his dad's passing in 2008, Dunlop commented: "I live with that every day of the week. It's not something that goes away. Yes, writing the book brought up some memories, but I live with what happened every day anyway, so writing the book has not changed anything in that sense."

Michael's relationship with Robert was extremely close. He dedicates the book to his dad, who he describes as his "hero" and "inspiration", wishing more than anything that he was still around today.

"I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for my dad. Before my dad passed away he put me in a position to be someone and to do something. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing," he said.

"My dad was a big inspiration for me. He was my idol and what I said in the book is how I went through life with him and after he passed away.

"Something like that will never go away. It will always be there. When I win races I wish he was still around to see it, but at the end of the day that's not the case."

Given he is only 27, I joke with Michael that there may be another book in him. Don't rule it out, but first things first. Dunlop is looking for a big season with his new machinery with the premier goal to claim more TT victories.

"The Isle of Man to me is the pinnacle. I suppose I see winning a race at the TT like winning a gold medal at the Olympics," said the Ballymoney man, who when he is not racing on two wheels enjoys nothing more than rallying on four.

"Don't get me wrong, other international events are all right, but in my view the Isle of Man is the best of the lot. To me it is put together just as well as Formula One. They are very professional over there, they bring lots of money to the area and I think they have it organised down to a tee, plus nothing beats the feeling of winning there."

Would he ever fancy following in the bootstraps of two-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea?

The reply: "Ach no… I don't spend enough time on short circuits to go down that route. I prefer to race on the roads and want to continue to do that. That's my life."

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If you are not willing to risk the unusual,you will have to settle for the ordinary-Jim Rohn

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Post by Andy » 4 months ago

Sorry that the order is mixed up a bit but to me it doesn't matter.
If I wouldn't follow the policy of not having a favourite racer, I`d have my fav now. I find the honesty amazing, given that most (auto-)biographies of late are more on about the records and victories than the defeats.
Needless to say that the book is on pre-order since the day it was announced. I guess, it is gonna get some good read. If I find some space I gonna take it to the TT with me and let it sign :mrgreen:

Cheers,
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Post by Everso Biggyballies » 4 months ago

Very moving and down to earth. Thanks for sharing Andy.
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Post by Andy » 4 months ago

On April 10th former 350 and 500cc world championship rider Jack Ahearn, 92, from Australia passed away peacefully. Jack started his GP career at almost 30 years of age in 1953 and won his first 500 GP at Imatra in 1964, aged 40.
The 1964 season was his most successful as he ended it as runner up to Mike Hailwood.

Rest in peace, Jack
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Post by Andy » 4 months ago

Hi guys,
Could any of the UK'ers in this forum do me a favour and capture the 3 part series Road Riders on BBC1 NI starting 22:40 UK time tomorrow?
It would really cool as the program features an insight on the lesser known riders on the Irish roads.

Cheers,
Andy
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Post by Andy » 3 months ago

Something good happened today in this craptastic week so far. It has finally arrived :smiley:
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Post by John » 3 months ago

46 year old Speedway legend Tomasz Gollob left (most likely) paralyzed after a motocross-accident in his native Poland. The 2010 World Champion came off his bike at high speed and was brought to hospital with damages to his skull, lungs and legs.

Sad news.
Last edited by John on Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Andy » 3 months ago

No good news :sorrow:
All the very best to him
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Post by John » 3 months ago

Update: Gollob is placed in an induced coma due to the severity of his injures.
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Post by Everso Biggyballies » 3 months ago

The news in terms of long term recovery is not good, unfortunately:
Tomasz Gollob’s surgeon says the Polish legend could face paralysis and admits his career may be over.

The 2010 world champion was airlifted to the Bydgoszcz Military Hospital after suffering serious spinal and lung injuries during a motocross event at nearby Chelmno.

Leading neurologist Professor Marek Harat carried out a three-hour operation, and revealed the five-time FIM Speedway World Cup winner sustained “very serious damage to the spinal cord”, but confirmed it hadn’t been broken.

Gollob suffered injuries to the T7 vertebrae and is also said to be receiving support with his breathing after damaging both lungs.

In a post on Gollob’s official website, Professor Harat confirms the 46-year-old could face paralysis.

But with the spinal cord intact, he refuses to jump to any immediate conclusions about the future prognosis of Poland’s greatest speedway star.

He said: “There has been very serious damage to the spinal cord, although it has not been interrupted. Tomasz is threatened with paralysis, but we will not prejudge anything – the next few days and weeks will decide. This could mean the end of his sports career.”

Asked about Gollob’s prospects of returning to the track, he told Polskie Radio PiK: “I think it’s an end to his career.

“Even taking into account the best possible course of treatment, Tomek faces a long rehabilitation that will last months if not years.

“The fact the spinal cord isn’t broken gives us a glimmer of hope. So, right now, I cannot state that anything is irreversible.”

Gollob’s 2013 season was ended by a serious crash with Tai Woffinden at the Scandinavian SGP in Stockholm. But Professor Harat insists the injuries the rider sustained then didn’t take their toll this weekend.

He added: “After the Stockholm crash, Tomasz had neck vertebrae damage not thoracic vertebrae, so that crash hasn’t had an impact on his current situation.”

Everyone involved in the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series wishes Tomasz a fast and full recovery from his injuries.
http://www.speedwaygp.com/news/article/ ... al-surgery
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