Roads: Michael Dunlop crowned MCN Rider of the Year 2023

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Michael Dunlop has been named MCN Rider of the Year 2023 following his stunning performances during the road racing season.

Dunlop won four races at last year’s Isle of Man TT to overtake 23-time TT racer winner John McGuinness as the greatest living TT racer. Perhaps more importantly, Michael is now just won win short of the all-time record of 26 wins held by his uncle Joey Dunlop.

At the TT Dunlop was the fastest man during practice week and went on to stand on the top step of the podium in the Superbike race, both Supersport events and one of the Supertwin races. In the Supersport class, Dunlop recorded the first-ever 130mph lap onboard his Yamaha R6 – built and prepared by his own team.

The Northern Irishman beat five other riders to claim the MCN award, including 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Champion Tommy Bridewell, fellow TT star Peter Hickman, World Superbike Champion Alvaro Bautista and MotoGP World Champion Pecco Bagnaia. Britain’s Moto2 star Jake Dixon was also nominated.

Not only did Dunlop win the public vote, but he did so emphatically by securing over 50% of all votes cast. Previous winners of the MCN Rider of the Year Award include Valentino Rossi, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Carl Fogarty and Joey Dunlop on two occasions.

Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Yamaha) rounds Laurel Bank on his way to victory in the opening TT Supersport Race. Photo Rod Neill

Dunlop travelled from his home in Northern Ireland to accept the award at the Devitt Insurance MCN London Motorcycle Show. After being presented the trophy by MCN Sports Editor Michael Guy on the MCN World of Bikes Stage, Dunlop was interviewed by James Whitham.

There’s a great possibility that Michael Dunlop will overtake Joey Dunlop at this year’s TT given that he’ll compete in eight races – Superbike, two Supertwin, two Supersport, two Superstock and the Senior TT.

This year’s Isle of Man TT begins on Monday May 27, with the opening races scheduled to take place on Saturday June 1. The 2024 race schedule is as follows:

Saturday June 1 – Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 1 / Sidecar TT Race 1

Sunday June 2 – RST Superbike TT Race

Tuesday June 4 – RL360 Superstock TT Race 1 / Carole Nash Supertwin Race 1

Wednesday June 5 – Sidecare TT Race 2 / Monster Energy Superpsort TT Race 2

Friday June 7 – Superstock TT Race 2 / Supertwin TT Race 2

Saturday June 8 – Milwaukee Senior TT Race