Robert Dunlop dies after motorbike crash


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong ... 403931.stm

Motorcyclist Robert Dunlop has died 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, near Portrush in County Antrim.

Dunlop's brother Joey was killed in a racing accident in Estonia in 2000.

The riders were travelling at speeds of about 160mph when the accident happened as they approached the Mathers Cross section of the course.
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.

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

Dunlop had sustained serious injuries in a crash at the Isle of Man TT in 1994, but he recovered and returned to action.

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 course Mervyn Whyte said he was devastated by the death.

Robert was one of NI's best known and most experienced riders

"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," he 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."

Sad news indeed.
Deepest sympathy to the Dunlop family.


Nov 3, 2006
Coming from Northern Ireland myself I am depressed to hear about Robert's death only a few weeks after Martin Finnegan was killed. I had seen him and Joey racing many times. Irish road racing has to be seen to be believed. The speeds on little narrow bumpy roads are just incredible and quite humbling to any of us who think they can ride fast. My last visit home I had a few drinks with John Donnan in our local village. A very nice guy who had over twenty years road racing experience. I remember him telling me how he would never ride a bike on a public road as it was too dangerous. Unfortunately he was killed in a race trying to avoid a novice rider who had fallen in front of him. My deepest sympathy to all the families and friends left behind.


Mar 5, 2006
A tremendous loss of a Grand Man from a great biking family.
I am sure many GT Riders join in sending our sympathies to the Dunlop family.

It therefore is truly incredible to then hear of his son going on to win the 250cc race!

from the BBC

Dunlop's son wins NW 200 opener
Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop talks to the media after his 250 success

An emotional Michael Dunlop claimed victory in the 250 race in Saturday's North West 200, just two days after the death of his father Robert.

The 20-year-old took his first North West win after edging out Christian Elkin with John McGuinness third.

Michael Rutter earned a 12th NW win in the first Superbike race with Guy Martin second and McGuinness third.

Steve Plater set a new lap record in winning the Supersport 600 opener ahead of Alistair Seeley and Ian Lougher.

"I had to do it for him. I am so proud. It's my dad's home circuit and he was the best round here," said Michael Dunlop after his 250 success.

English rider Rutter went from third to first in a blistering move on the final lap to secure another victory on the circuit.

"I got in the slipstream, put my head down and went for it," said Rutter.

"It's just awesome, fanstastic. To win it meant a lot to me and it was a great race."

The schedule on Saturday comprises two Superbike races, two Supersport 600 and one each in the Superstock, 400cc, 250 and 125 classes.

Robert Dunlop's funeral is to be held on Sunday.

North West 200 results:

1. Michael Dunlop (Honda) 109.516 mph (average lap speed)
2. Christian Elkin (Honda) 109.420
3. John McGuinness (Honda) 109.352
4. Paul Robinson (Honda) 107.437
5. Andrew Neill (Honda) 107.274
Oct 17, 2006
My heart goes out to the Dunlops , but heck what big balls and hearts these Northern Irish guys have .... bless them.


Mar 27, 2007
A great tradegy. My friends called me from the NW200 shortly after the news was announced. I met Joey at Brands Hatch back in the 70's..... A real tradegy that Robert has now sucumbed....

Jul 14, 2004
Its been 9 years since we all gridded up together , Donny Robinson, Simion Beck, Joey Dunlop, Owen Mcnelly, David Jefferies, Martin Finigan, Robert Dunlop, Jun Maeda, Stu murdoch, great ride it was too. but glad i found GT riders and sprint car racing