ISLE OF MAN – The 2014 Classic TT Parade Lap sponsored by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company will feature some of Joey Dunlop’s greatest rivals.
With Dunlop having won a record-breaking 26 races at the Isle of Man TT, 26 of his major rivals from his career have been selected to be part of the parade lap, all of whom will ride machinery from their era of racing. Jim Dunlop, Joey’s brother, will also be appearing on an ex Joey Dunlop race bike to represent his brother.
The riders have been carefully chosen by event promoters the Isle of Man Government Department of Economic Development and are riders who were involved in what were felt to have been Joey’s most memorable races or those riders who were his main rivals for a sustained period during his career.
The riders will leave the line in single file and in chronological order to a narration read by Manx Radio TT Anchorman Tim Glover, which will tell the story of Joey Dunlop’s remarkable career through the rivalries that defined it.
Where possible, all of the living rivals will take part in the parade and for those names that are, sadly, no longer with us or unable to attend for other reasons, they will be represented by a rider linked to them by the missing rider’s family relationship, sporting achievement or nationality. Here’s the full list of 26:
Ray McCullough (represented by Denis McCullough)
Throughout the 1970s, Ray McCullough was the man to beat in Northern Ireland and was one of the riders Joey aspired to both beat and emulate, something that he ultimately did. Dunlop’s Armoy Armada and McCullough’s Dromara Destroyers became the thing of folklore as they battled across the length and breadth of Ireland. Honours were pretty even between the two and McCullough will be represented by his nephew Denis, who enjoyed a successful road racing career himself, having many a battle with Joey in the 125cc and 250cc classes.
The second of the Dromara Destroyers, Steele was a 250cc and 350cc class specialist and although he didn’t reach the heights on the International stage like others did, he was a formidable competitor on the National roads of his homeland, winning countless races.
Mervyn Robinson (represented by Paul Robinson)
The second member of the Armoy Armada, Mervyn was the rider who Joey looked up to most and their battles on the track never affected their close friendship. When Mervyn, who married Joey’s sister Helen, lost his life at the 1980 North West 200, it almost led Joey to quit but he went to the TT and famously won that year’s Classic race with the rest, as they say, history. Son Paul, a former North West 200 winner, will represent Mervyn.