Northern Ireland motorcycle racer William Dunlop died after a crash during a practice for the Skerries 100 road race in County Dublin over the weekend, the motorcycle club hosting the race announced Saturday. Dunlop was 32.
Dunlop was part of a racing family and had a long career himself, with the Guardian reporting that he had more than 100 wins in Ireland’s road-racing scene. This year, Dunlop’s team planned to race periodically in the British Superbike Championship, international road races and other events.
Dunlop was also a regular in the Isle of Man TT, but the Guardian reports he missed it this year to be with his partner Janine, whose last name was not listed in his obituary, during her pregnancy. Dunlop’s father and uncle, Robert and Joey Dunlop, died in racing incidents as well, according to the Guardian.
The Loughshinny Motorcycle Supporters Club hosting the Skerries 100 said after Dunlop’s death that its 10 races would go on after the club discussed it with Dunlop’s family, sponsors and other riders, but posted on Facebook after the event that riders unanimously voted to give all winnings to Dunlop’s family, who will be having a funeral service in the coming week. It was also decided not to give championship points, the club announced, to focus on “running [the event] safely with riders who wanted to take part without any pressure.”
Facebook posts from Dunlop’s friends, family, fans and acquaintances called him “a gent,” “such a lovely guy,” “an awesome talent” and “probably the most genuine and down to earth person [they’ve] known.” Others said he was “very quiet, went about his business and loved his racing,” and one fan called him “the reason [they] loved the sport.”
“I first met William Dunlop nearly 7 years ago at ... my first ever race and he was so kind with his time it made my day,” the fan wrote. “He was quiet, generous and an absolute gentleman.”