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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

10 years Gone..The Late Great Joey Dunlop, King of the Roads!

When I was but a young buck and had an old and modified Honda 400/4 with a single racing seat and full racing fairing, this film, which was indeed a full 16mm camera strapped to Joeys bike, was almost the film version of our bible!
Every weekend we could, we'd meet up and all head off on a mental road race from Edinburgh to Galashiels on what would be our TT course, the A7. Nowadays those bikes that we had would be considered a joke, with todays mopeds carrying more tyre than I had, but maybe thats what made it even more exciting and we had nothing to compare too except the modern day racing bikes which , like today, had similar characteristics as our bikes. My Honda had an open Bell Megatron and ran open wire filters, she sounded amazing as we'd head at full throttle down the borders, the only worry being a tractor leaving a field without due care or attention. Despite the fact that Scotland had it's own Traffic force, not once did we see the Rovers out on the A7.
Joey D even creeps up in an other amusing story, when 4 of us headed to Donnington park to watch one of the first ever World Superbike championships and the rumour that Joey would be racing was too much to miss. What made this journey funny was that we all hauled ourselves off a train at around 4 in the morning at the wrong station....leather jackets, jeans and cowboy boots...we ended up in a place similar to Midsummer murders....and started to walk towards , what we thought, was the right direction...
Fortunatly I had a camera with me, old school camera of course, and I managed to catch some great sunrise pics as we walked past people fishing...mad indeed. After walking about 10 to 15 Kms we ended up next to a motorway and we were really fortunate enough to get a lift to the track. I'll scan the pic of the legend which I took during the race which I still hold dear, as to us he was the ultimate racer of the roads, and the roads were what we attacked and lived for at the time...years before I hit the track myself..
I remember when I heard he had died..I think you had to breathe the fumes of a hot engine to understand the feeling...which in itself is very hard to describe unless you've gone down that road with the speed junkie injecting you in the throttle arm and got off after 27 miles of thrashing and just stood shaking whilst the adrenalin and stories of Pirelli slides and late breaking takes over...

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