Michael Dunlop stunned fierce rival Guy Martin to become the first member of Ulster’s legendary Dunlop family to lift the prestigious Gold Cup at Scarborough on Sunday.
Tyco Suzuki rider Martin had been riding high after his super treble at the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod and few gave Dunlop a chance of causing an upset at one of Martin’s strongest venues, but the Lincolnshire star simply had no answer to the seven-time TT winner in the blue riband race at Oliver’s Mount.
Dunlop dominated on the wet track on his MD Racing Honda after John McGuinness crashed out, crossing the line with over 11 seconds in hand over Martin to cap a powerhouse season in style as he enjoyed the last laugh in his season-long rivalry with the English raider.
Dunlop – who has won races at every single road race in which he has competed this season – said: “There was talk from Guy and TAS about how they beat me in my backyard at the Ulster Grand Prix, so I just went over there and returned the favour.
“That was the big one and I won it, so that’s really all that mattered,” he said.
“It’s a big thing to be involved in and it’s the first time any of us boys have won the Gold Cup. It’s good for me to have my name on there because I’m the only Dunlop ever to have managed it.”
Dunlop is only the second rider ever from Northern Ireland to win the Gold Cup after Ryan Farquhar managed the feat in 2011.
Martin has won the trophy a record eight times, including seven successive wins in a row from 2003 to 2009, although he missed the event in 2011 with a blood infection.
McGuinness made a flying start on the Padgett’s Honda from Martin and Dunlop, but was high-sided off at the hairpin on the third lap.
Dunlop had overhauled Martin at this point and moved into the lead, narrowly avoiding crashing himself after being pushed out to the grass by McGuinness’ machine.
However, he stayed upright and streaked away to win by 11.22 seconds from Martin, with James Cowton third.
The conditions claimed a number of casualties including Bruce Anstey, William Dunlop, Dean Harrison and Ian Lougher, each escpaing serious injury.
Dunlop also won a thrilling 250cc race from brother William on Saturday on John Burrows’ 250cc Honda. He finished second on Sunday behind Ian Lougher to win the Phil Mellor Trophy overall on John Burrows’ Honda in the last-ever 250cc race at the event.