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Robert Dunlop killed at Norwest 200 (Practice)

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' started by gco0307, May 16, 2008.

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/motorbikes/7403931.stm

    Motorcyclist Robert Dunlop has died at the age of 47 after suffering severe chest injuries in a crash in Thursday's practice session at the North West 200.

    Another Northern Ireland rider, Darren Burns, suffered a suspected broken leg and concussion in the accident, but is said to be stable in hospital.

    The accident happened in the 250cc qualifying session in County Antrim.

    Dunlop's brother Joey, a legendary figure in British motorcycle circles, died while racing in Estonia in 2000.

    A five-time Formula One world champion who won 26 races at the Isle of Man TT meeting, Joey's funeral was attended by 50,000 mourners.

    Robert Dunlop, who holds the record for the most wins at the North West 200 meeting with 15, sustained serious injuries in a crash at the Isle of Man TT in 1994, but recovered and resumed his career.

    He retired from racing in 2004 but returned to action the following year.

    On Thursday he and the other riders were travelling at speeds of about 160mph as they approached the Mathers Cross section of the course in Portrush.

    Dunlop's bike appeared to seize and he went over the handlebars.

    He was rushed to the Causeway Hospital in nearby Coleraine, where he died from his injuries shortly after 2200 BST.

    Robert will always been remembered for his infectious personality and love for road racing

    Mervyn Whyte, North West 2000 clerk of course

    Burns was following behind and was unable to avoid hitting the Ballymoney rider.

    Another Northern Ireland rider, Denver Robb, was behind both motorcyclists when the accident happened.

    "Coming up to Mathers (Cross), Burns was leading and I was second, just sitting in his slipstream," he said.

    "Then Robert - it was one of the Dunlops - came past me and, as soon as he did, he just shot off into Mathers and the bike seized.

    "There was a puff of smoke and the bike locked up - she went sideways - and I think Robert must have grabbed the front brake.

    "He went out over the top of the bike and landed on the road. Then Burnsy had nowhere to go and he clipped him and he went straight on."

    Clerk of the course Mervyn Whyte said he was devastated by the death.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with Robert's family and we extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Louise, children William, Daniel and Michael and wider family circle," Whyte said.

    "The MCUI (UC) - Motor Cycling Union of Ireland and PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) are in the process of fully investigating the incident which happened during the 125, 250, 400 practice session on the first lap.

    "Robert was one of Northern Ireland's best known and most experienced riders, who will always been remembered for his infectious personality and love for road racing."

    First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said they were deeply saddened by the death.

    "This is a tragedy that will be felt deeply by the people of Northern Ireland," Mr Paisley said.

    "Robert was one of our greatest sportsmen and will be sadly missed."

    Mr McGuinness said: "Robert, like his brother Joey before him, was a tremendous ambassador for his sport.

    "I also offer my sincerest sympathies to his family."

    Northern Ireland Sports Minister Edwin Poots said: "Robert was a much loved respected and talented member of the motorsport community and will be missed by all."

  2. Both brothers now :(.

    BIKE did an article about him a year or so ago; he was still bashed up from his most recent accident, and I remember thinking that he ought to have called it a day.....
  3. Very sad news,its a dangours game,real roadracing but the prize money is huge.Must be massivly additive.
  4. Farewell Robert. Bloody sad.
  5. RIP robert :(
  6. Sad .... RIP :cry:
  7. .. and I'm sure I read somewhere in the normal news this week, that the Irish Government was going to make the NW 200 track safer for the competitors.

    The toll of that track is quite awful; Monty Swann was killed there many years ago and our own Warren Willing was permanently crippled at the same race meeting.

  8. Yeah it is a huge shame but to be honest it's no great surprise. Riding quickly around that circuit is extremely dangerous and the more you do it the more likely it is you will get killed or seriously hurt doing it.

    A bit like every successful parachute jump puts you one closer to the one when the chute doesn't open.
  9. thats a disgusting view to have on road racing factory.
  10. I'm not talking about road racing I'm talking about the Northwest 200 specifically.

    Too many have ended their lives and careers there, too many.
  11. I think doodlebug didn't read you post correctly, Factory, I certainly didn't read any negative comment about road racing in it. Much the same could be said about Bathurst or Amaroo, but there were some great races held at both places..

    {See the NW200 live on streaming BBC tonight at 9:00pm, thanks doodlebug :wink:}

  12. no problem hornet :grin:
    i was refering to "A bit like every successful parachute jump puts you one closer to the one when the chute doesn't open" in particular, even if its just to the NW200 its not a positive comment!

    E-hand shake? lol
  13. Well I'm cool with that comment too, in a philosophical sense, although if I was a parachutist I might be a little more sensitive about it :LOL:. After all, every time you ride you increase the chances, mathematically, at least, of the law of averages catching up with you.
  14. Sad news Robbie was a great rider ..I feel for the Dunlop Family.

    Micheal Dunlop aged 20 just one his first north west 200 in the 250 class and after the loss of his father ...
    The Name lives on .

    I once asked a TT competitor Why take the risk ,He answered because its the biggest High you just don't get the same feeling at a track, and the Real road races are more like a big Friendly Family, the track is to secretive and closed off from the fans .
  15. I am familiar with the track ahving been there in 2006. the issue is not track safety in my mind but the fact the machines are simply much faster and until that issue is addressed nothing will change. Road racing Irish style means public roads, fences, white lines and walls it is infectious to improve the circuit to make it like a 'road race circuit' such as the island would ruin the very concept. We race because we enjoy it, we have to accept the responsibility for the risks. Sure if a bus reverses out in front thats different but the circuit needs to be ridden as it is.
    PS I think it is fantastic to ride apon and love the ride through the town and under the rail bridge with grandstands either side. Once out in the country you can smell the different typrs of vegetation as you go past but cant look to see it. My club tried to get one going at Harrow in Victoria but the insurance scare a few years ago stopped it.
  16. Faster than what? Than when Tom Herron was killed there or when Warren Willings career was ended? The bikes are better now as they actually handle, unlike the old TZ750's of the late 70's which were just as quick in a straight line. The issue has always been track safety.

    Robert Dunlop was 47yo and it is just the law of averages, you do it long enough it will eventually get you.

    Just my 2 cents.
  17. More than 2c worth, Factory. The bikes in MotoGp and WSBK go faster on their tracks than the usual top speed on most of the road circuits; when was the last time a rider was killed in either of those arenas? The fact is with the Island and Cadwell and Portrush, you can get killed at 80kph just by hitting something on the side of the road; something that wouldn't be there on a proper circuit. Yes the spectators get closer to the action, and yes, these tracks evoke the early days of racing before tracks were built, but the competitors pay the price.
  18. ok sure, so 2 great riders were lost road racing at the NW200 week, how many people died in cars the same week? i rest my case..
  19. :? You haven't made a case yet....

    No-one is making comparisons between the normal road-toll and deaths in racing. The issue is comparative track safety, and the fact is that the modern racing bike has outgrown the antiquated road circuit.
  20. I agree Paul. If you want to see a graphic example of " Outgrown the Circuit", watch this weekend,s car gp at monaco.