MCN’s top five road races: 1st

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William Dunlop pips his brother Michael in last lap thriller to win first international superbike race at the North West 200

North West 200 Superbike race one

Finishing order: William Dunlop, Michael Dunlop, Conor Cummins

Michael Dunlop may have captured most of the 2014 road racing season’s headlines but it was his older brother William who was the winner of the best road race of 2014.

And he beat Michael in a nailbiting last lap thriller to win it!

The Ballymoney brothers had their first 2014 head to head Superbike battle in the opening big bike race at the North West 200 in May. Most of the attention was focussed on Michael as he made his debut on the Hawk/ Motorrad BMW S1000RR but William was also having his first outing at his home race on the Tyco Suzuki GSXR1000RR. The 28 year old made the best start, trailing Ian Hutchinson (Milwaukee Yamaha) at the end of the opening lap with his slow starting brother back in 8th spot. The Suzuki rider would be the first to admit that he is no lover of the wet conditions that had seen the race reduced from seven to five laps but he hit the from on lap two. His younger brother was on a charge and by lap three he was up to third behind Conor Cummins (Honda). The scene was set for last lap battle that rekindled memories of their father Robert’s battles with their uncle Joey around the sea side circuit back in the 90s.

The crowd were on their feet in the grandstands as Michael moved the BMW into the lead at Metropole and with only the Coast road section to go it seemed the race was his for the taking. But William had failed to read that script and he stuck to his kid brother’s back wheel until Juniper chicane where he slipped past on the brakes to huge roars from the fans.

The Suzuki rider denied his brother his first BMW win to take what he described as “his best ever win”. 

Stephen Davison

By Stephen Davison

Biographer of John McGuinness & road racing's foremost writer & photographer