William Dunlop hasn’t enjoyed the benefit of a smooth build-up to this year’s Isle of Man TT races, but the unassuming Ballymoney man is feeling quietly confident over his chances.
Dunlop’s deal with Halsall Racing stuttered and a few weeks before the North West 200, he seized the chance to ride the ex-Mar Train Yamaha machines, which he is running under the Temple Golf Club banner for the rest of the season.
The 31-year-old has received a further shot in the arm with a sponsorship boost from the Bayview Hotel in Portballintrae.
Dunlop, who finished as the runner-up in the opening Supersport race at the North West 200 behind Alastair Seeley, caught the eye of hotel proprietor Trevor Kane, who has come on board as one of his backers for the TT festival.
“A few weeks ago I only had one bike until I met with Tim [Martin] and got the chance to ride his bikes, so he really helped us out of a hole,” Dunlop said.
“The Bayview Hotel has come on board now for the TT, so thanks to Trevor Kane and also to Ian Paisley and Shebang Events & PR, who helped set the deal up.
“I’m feeling good heading to the island and I think we can do a good job. It’d be nice to get a win on the 600, but I don’t want to say too much about my chances because most of the time when you go to the TT, things don’t work out the way you thought they would,” he added.
“We’ll get stuck in and with a bit of luck the weather will be dry during practice week.
“I think we can get into the top 10 for sure on the big bike and maybe even the top six. Speed-wise, it was as fast as anything at the North West, so with a bit more work on the chassis and set-up it should be a really good package.”