Extremely sad news over the weekend as we learned of the passing of Northern Ireland motorcycle racer William Dunlop at the Skerries 100 road races. The likeable 32 year old, was taking part in practice for the event when the crash happened. William's father Robert died as a result of an accident at the North West 200 in 2008, while his uncle Joey was killed in a crash in Estonia in 2000. Joey holds the record for the most Isle of Man TT wins with 26, while William's brother Michael has registered 18 wins at the event over the Mountain Course.
William has also competed regularly on the Isle of Man but sat out this year's races after coming home during practice week to be with his pregnant partner Janine. Dunlop indicated after the event that there had been concerns about a 20-week scan but that the situation had improved and the couple were looking forward to the arrival of their second child. A statement released by the Loughshinny Club, the organisers of the Skerries 100, said that they "deeply regretted that William Dunlop has passed away following injuries received in a tragic accident that occurred during practice which took place today, 7 July 2018".
"The Loughshinny Motorcycle Supporters Club extends their heartfelt sympathy to William Dunlop's family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very sad time," the statement continued. It is understood that William was taking part in an Open race practice session on his Temple Golf Club-backed R1 Yamaha when he crashed at the Sam's Tunnel section of the 2.9-mile circuit on the third lap around 17:00 BST. Red flags were immediately displayed to halt the session and medics and Gardai attended the scene.
With the blessing of our racing family and support from all our officials and marshals, the riders took to the grid to complete the demanding 10 race programme, in fine good sunny weather. The spectators were treated to some superb racing from our incredibly talented riders with only one rider in mind, William Dunlop, a fitting tribute to their fellow fallen rider. This non-championship races were held on the 2.92 mile circuit, and catered for all classes from 125cc up to Superbikes 1000cc. The Loughshinny Motorcycle Supporters Club once again extended their heartfelt sympathy to William Dunlop's family and friends and we are continuing to support them over this very difficult time and the club would ask that the privacy of the family be respected at this time.