Sunday, June 23, 2024

Top 5 This Week

Single Post Template - Urban Observer

No reason I can’t be fast on EWC return, says Isle of Man TT legend Michael Dunlop

No Reason I Can’t Be Fast On Ewc Return, Says Isle Of Man Tt Legend Michael DunlopRoad racing hero Michael Dunlop is convinced he can fight at the front when he returns to the FIM Endurance World Championship this season.

Dunlop, from Northern Ireland, has 25 Isle of Man TT victories to his name – only his famous uncle, the late Joey Dunlop, has more wins with 26. But having made only one EWC start to date, he’ll be a virtual novice when he contests the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans in France from 18-21 April.

Forming part of the Honda-powered TRT27 AZ Moto line-up in the Superstock-based FIM Endurance World Cup alongside team-mates Ben Luxton, Tom Oliver and Tom Ward, Dunlop has no plans to make up the numbers, however.

No Reason I Can’t Be Fast On Ewc Return, Says Isle Of Man Tt Legend Michael Dunlop“Both Toms had worked with a friend of mine in British Superbike and they sort of needed someone who knew the bike a little bit and asked me if I’d care to join them,” Dunlop explained. “I said, ‘yeah, no problem’. It’s obviously different to the bike I rode last year but I’d like to be able to give them a hand because they’re fast lads. If we can give them a help with the base it would be great to see them doing well.

“But I don’t see a reason why I can’t be fast here. If we get the base good, I should be fast as well. I came here with the Honda 11 years ago and I was fast then, I was the fastest of the group. It’s a different ball game [to the Isle of Man TT] and that’s just the way it is but there are obviously four of us here this year. Ben has joined the team and he looks fast so hopefully we can put on a good show.”

As well as making the transition from the road to the track, Dunlop will have to get used to racing after dark, although that prospect doesn’t faze the 34-year-old.

No Reason I Can’t Be Fast On Ewc Return, Says Isle Of Man Tt Legend Michael Dunlop“People think you’re racing at night [at Le Mans] but when you’re here it’s all lit up,” Dunlop said. “When the place is full of people and the lights are on it’s not really night. But it’s not the night that’s the problem but the freezing cold. The last time I was here it was minus three and we had to stop it for an hour or so before we got going again because of the cold.”

Dunlop’s only previous EWC outing ended in disappointment, as he recalled: “One of the riders had a massive crash and broke the bike in half so we didn’t get to finish it sadly. But it’s something I’d always like to do but never got the opportunity. This has come up and it’s good.”

Given his considerable achievements in road racing, what convinced Dunlop that competing in the EWC is for him?

Something like this would be great and it would be a good window for me, especially for what I do. Somebody like me should excel at this because it’s plug along, keep going, a bit like the Isle of Man TT, you’ve got to keep going, keep pushing, keep going, keep pushing. 

“A lot of people do 25 minutes and that’s the race over. In the TT I’m doing an hour and 45 minutes, maybe coming in and having two races in the day. Hopefully in this I can keep battling on and maintaining the laps. I suppose that’s what I’m here for and to keep upright as well. I do think I should have some pace if I can get the feeling and be as good as the rest of the lads.”

Of his plans for the remainder of the four-event EWC season, Dunlop said: “It was a bit of a squeeze to get this one, the team has obviously switched from manufacturers and there’s been a big push to get this thing going. I’d love to [carry on] and obviously a massive goal would be to go and do Suzuka but it’s never that easy, but time will tell probably.”No Reason I Can’t Be Fast On Ewc Return, Says Isle Of Man Tt Legend Michael Dunlop

But why not?

“That’s it, I’d love to do it if it’s possible just because Suzuka is the be all and end all isn’t it really,” Dunlop said. “Don’t get me wrong, Le Mans will be full to the rafters come race day but there’s just something about Suzuka, especially with the Japanese manufacturers it seems to be the pinnacle of the sport.”

And of the prospect of racing against his 46 rivals in the 24 Heures Motos, Dunlop said: “Obviously the TT is not like that because we’re single file, going on our own every 10 seconds. But it’s no different to the national racing we do, the short circuits and bits and pieces. Le Mans is a bit different because you never really know who you’re dicing with because they might be a lap down, a lap up. It’s just timing and pitstops but the main thing is keeping all the lads together. I don’t work with team-mates much because obviously in my own team we do our own thing. That will be interesting if I can bring as much to the table as these boys. The two Toms have done it before but Ben is completely new to it, but he will be fast and I don’t see why we can’t be good.”

The 47th running of the 24 Heures Motos opens the 2024 EWC season from 18-21 April at Le Mans in France. Ticket information is available HERE.

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

Popular Articles