This is what sets Michael Dunlop apart from the rest

Posted: June 5, 2013 in Uncategorized
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It is of course about engines and shocks and swingarms and brakes and tyres and pitstops. But it’s also about concentration. That special quality which most of us would like to have more of, especially when the going gets tough. The ability to place the mind in a zone that brooks no interference, no distraction, no deviation from a single goal. To trade not just on hope but on belief. To make the mind more than a receptor and filter of information, more than a decision-maker, but to make it a significant source of advantage in itself. This, I believe, is what is setting Michael Dunlop apart this week.

Irresistible force: Michael Dunlop at Kirk Michael today. photo: Alan Knight

Irresistible force: Michael Dunlop at Kirk Michael today. photo: Alan Knight

Watching him race to his fourth win in four races today, I was stunned by the man’s ability to keep up the pace for so long, knowing that fractions of a second counted, to keep hitting apex after apex, to run that Honda so smoothly on such an outrageous course, to deal with setbacks like a lock-up at the Bungalow and meeting traffic in Ramsey. It doesn’t matter how good a bike is, it’s the rider who makes the difference at this level. I know Hutchy won five out of five three years ago, and I saw Joey, McCallen, Hizzy and Foggy all race on the island, but I believe we are now seeing the greatest individual display of road racing. Michael is not just beating the course, he is beating brilliant riders who themselves are at the top of their game. McGuinness set a new outright lap record and today Anstey beat the old Supersport record, yet each was eclipsed by Dunlop M.

Sportsmen and women with outstanding powers of concentration tend not to be thought of as motorbike racers. Cricket fans will remember Bill Lawry, the most obstinate of opening bats for Australia. Ed Moses, the American 400 metre hurdler, would lie flat on the track before a race to compose himself in the zone. He was unbeaten in over nine years. Nick Faldo won his six major golf titles by thinking his way round the course as much as playing it. Michael has now produced this unique level of concentration on three separate days, four separate races, and 18 laps of 37.75 miles each, at an average speed in the region of 130mph.

One day to go. Whatever you have planned, cancel it. Do not miss the Senior TT on the Isle of Man this year.




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