Dunlop brothers add poignancy to Macau GP

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 October, 2011, 12:00am


Two members of the legendary Northern Irish motorcycling Dunlop family - brothers Michael and William - will debut at the Guia circuit for next month's 45th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Michael and William are the sons of the late Robert Dunlop, Macau Grand Prix winner in 1989, and nephews of the late Joey Dunlop. The brothers will add spice to an already star-studded line-up headed by six-time Macau Grand Prix champion Michael Rutter.

The Dunlop brothers will be competing for different teams in Macau. Michael, 23, has already made a name for himself, having won the 2009 Supersport TT at the Isle of Man TT course in 2009, and becoming the fastest of the Dunlops around the Isle of Man circuit. He will compete in Macau with the Kawasaki Racing Team.

Elder brother William, 26, has won races at the North West 200 and will be aboard a Wilson Craig Honda 1000cc for Macau. The brothers will also add some poignancy to the race in continuing the family tradition, despite the tragic deaths of their father and uncle. Robert died in a crash during practice for the North West 200 in 2009. Nine years earlier, Robert's elder brother, Joey, another legendary figure in British motorcycle circles, was killed while racing in Estonia.

Meanwhile, Rutter will strive to capture a record-breaking seventh Macau win. The Briton, who finished second last year, returns to Macau onboard a Team of Paris 1200cc Ducati. Also returning is American Jeremy Toye, who last year became the first rider from America to finish on the podium in Macau in a decade. The Californian will partner Michael Dunlop and Manxman Conor Cummins on the Kawasaki Racing Team.

Briton John McGuinness (Roadhouse SMT Honda), who finished sixth last year, will be looking to add a second Macau win exactly 10 years after he first stood atop the podium in 2001. The race will, however, be missing three-time defending Macau champion, Scotsman Stuart Easton, who is aiming for a 2012 comeback after suffering extensive injuries, which included two broken legs, in a crash at the North West 200 in May.

The 58th Macau Grand Prix race meeting will see the world's leading Formula Three and touring car drivers vie for honours. The Macau Formula Three Grand Prix will be held on November 20. For the seventh straight year, the FIA World Touring Car Championship will stage its final rounds in Macau. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Guia race.