Gary Dunlop will make his debut at the Frohburg Road Races in Germany later this month, where the showpiece race is named in memory of his legendary father Joey.
Fresh from his first Irish road racing triumph at the East Coast Racing Festival at Killalane on Sunday, Dunlop’s next outing between the hedges will be at the final round of the International Road Racing Championship (IRRC) from September 23-24.
The Ballymoney man told the News Letter he has always wanted to travel over to the race in Frohburg after the organisers dedicated the main event to 26-time Isle of Man TT great Joey.
Dunlop, who will make the trip with his cousin William, said: “Myself and William are heading to Frohburg and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve always wanted to do it because the main race over there is named after my Dad.
“Even when I wasn’t racing I’d always thought about going over there even to watch it, but whenever the chance came up last month to go over and race there I jumped at it.”
Dunlop achieved his breakthrough triumph between the hedges in the Moto3/125GP race on Sunday at Killalane in north county Dublin, where he was riding the Joey’s Bar Moto3 Honda, complete with the famous number ‘3’ plate.
Fellow Ballymoney man Paul Robinson made a flying start to the race but was cruelly forced out with a machine problem, paving the way for Dunlop to take the lead.
Cheered on by the fans, Dunlop – who only made his roads debut last year aged 32 – went on to secure his maiden win on his debut at the event by 10.5 seconds from Nigel Moore, with Melissa Kennedy making it onto the rostrum in third.
As a result of Robinson’s retirement, Moore was crowned Irish champion with Dunlop finishing second in the standings.
“It’s a real pity for Paul because it’s not a nice way to lose the championship,” Dunlop said.
“It’s nice to get my first win but it doesn’t really feel like a victory to be honest.
“It’s bad that Paul lost it but if you wanted anybody else to win it, then there’s probably not a man in the country that deserves to win something more than Nigel. He’s the nicest man in the paddock and he’s a great rider,” added Dunlop.
“Believe it or not Paul’s never won an Irish championship and he’s far too good a rider not to have done it.”
With wet conditions on Saturday during practice, Dunlop only managed his first lap around Killalane in the dry in Sunday’s race, but he quickly got to grips with the course.
“It was my debut at Killalane and on Saturday I wasn’t enjoying it because it was just so slippy, but it was a lot better when it dried up today. In saying that, the wind was still a huge problem but when the track is dry it’s really good,” he said.
“I only did my first dry lap in the race and I was hanging onto Paul at the start and keeping him in my sights,” he said.
“I’ve been riding the Moto3 Honda this year but I’m going to go back to riding the 125 Honda next year again.”
Earlier this season, Dunlop clinched his first podium on the weekend of the 17th anniversary of Joey’s fatal accident in Estonia in July 2000.
He led the race at the Skerries 100 before eventually finishing as the runner-up behind team-mate Derek McGee.