Dunlop settles for £700,000 in TT crash case

Published: 14 January 2002

Robert Dunlop’s long battle for compensation after his 1994 TT accident came to a surprise early end on Thursday afternoon when he agreed to accept £700,000 in compensation, approximately half what he had been asking for.

Mr Justice Buckley said the agreement seemed both fair and sensible.

" I would like to express my admiration for the way Mr Dunlop has dealt with this awful accident. He has fought back, despite his disabilities, to win races regularly again, perhaps not at the level he would have aspired to, but it is nevertheless a remarkable achievement, " he added.

Dunlop had argued that the accident had robbed him of the chance of becoming a top WSB star. The hearing at London’s High Court this week featured expert witnesses describing Dunlop’s talents and potential in 1994. The intention was to help the court decide how much cash he was due. Carl Fogarty was among those called and he did attend court on Wednesday but was not required to give evidence.

Dunlop told the court: " It is my belief that I would have gone on to greater success in WSB. I think my abilities and determination were such that I would have been one of the top three superbike riders in the world in the second half of the 1990s. "

Instead Dunlop, who had lived in a 10 bedroom country house at the time of the accident, now rented a modest £85-a-week home shared with his wife and three sons.

Lawyers for those he is claiming compensation from, said Dunlop had reached his peak in 1994, He was a top ten finisher in the British Supercup at the time.

Dunlop crashed during the 1994 TT and is making a claim against his former team boss Stuart Medd – who ran the RC45 which Dunlop crashed – wheel maker Marvic and Racing Lines, its former UK distributor.

He was left with a broken right arm and right leg after the 130mph crash in the F1 race. The rear wheel of his Honda had collapsed. Doctors told him he’d never race again due to nerve and tendon damage that restricted movement. He has since had more than a dozen operations on his injuries in his efforts to return to racing.

He still can’t close his right hand properly (he uses a button to operate his front brake) and has compound fractures in his right leg.

His solicitor Michael Goldberg, told MCN: " Judgement was achieved in Mr Dunlop’s favour in 1998, and this trial follows separate actions concerning Medd and the manufacturers in 1997. "

Dunlop, who dominated the 125cc Ultra-Lightweight event between 1989 and 1991, was hailed as the natural successor to his brother Joey on the bigger bikes before the crash.

Despite still suffering the effects of his injuries, Dunlop – a four-times TT winner - was unbeaten on the Irish roads last year. This season he plans to combine his own racing efforts with helping his son William, 17, in his first full season of national racing.