ULSTER GP: Injured Dunlop hoping to compete in Supersport races
William Dunlop still hopes to compete in the Supersport races at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix after withdrawing from the Superbike class due to injury.
Dunlop broke his scaphoid bone in his left wrist and despite becoming the first rider ever to breach the 200mph mark on the Temple Golf Club Yamaha R1 at Dundrod during Thursday practice (220.4mph), he reluctantly had to concede defeat in his bid to be fit enough for the 1000cc races.
It is a bitter blow for the 32-year-old, who has enjoyed some of the best moments of his career at Dundrod.
He was banking on ending the major international road racing season on a high after a luckless season, which saw Dunlop left without a Superbike ride earlier in the year after a deal with Halsall Racing fell through.
Former Mar-Train Racing team boss Tim Martin stepped in and supplied the Ballymoney man with Yamaha R1 Superbike and Superstock machinery, which he ran under the banner of the Temple Golf Club.
However, after impressing during practice with a lap of 132.606mph – leaving him fifth fastest on the combined Superbike times ahead of his brother Michael – Dunlop admitted he simply wouldn’t be able to see out a full race distance on the bigger capacity machines.
“I’m gutted but there’s just no way I’d be able to do a full race on the Superbike,” he told the News Letter.
“It was just a silly accident. A friend closed the gate on my hand and I didn’t think too much of it, but when I woke up the next morning it was all swollen.
“I went to the hospital and it turned out I had broken my scaphoid. Maybe I should’ve broken the other one too because I was going well in practice!” he joked.
“I’ve had no luck recently and this is my favourite place. I was up in the first two sectors in practice on Wednesday and I was on for a lap at well over 133mph, but I just felt my wrist and I had to pull in.
“It just wasn’t worth it but I’m still hoping to ride the 600. We’ll give it a go and see what happens.”
Dunlop set a new record with his 200mph blast through the speed trap and although he received plenty of plaudits for the feat, the Ulster rider was typically nonplussed.
“Everybody kept coming up and congratulating me in the paddock, but to me it’s not really a big deal – all I did was turn the throttle,” he said.
“The bike was always fast in a straight line, but getting it around the corners was the problem.
“Yamaha Europe sent us Tim Steed to help with the electronics and he transformed the bike, so I’m happiest because of that, but disappointed because I won’t get to ride it now.”