William Joseph Dunlop was born on February 25, 1952 in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland. He was passionate about racing from a very young age and it wasn't until 1969, at the age of 17, that he bought his first motorbike for £50, using the money he saved by working as a carpenter, welder and lorry driver. That same year, he made his racing debut finishing fourth.
After working in his father's shop, he earned enough money to enter his second race. After a fierce battle with his rivals in the high-speed Bultaco, he got second place.
From that year on he could no longer stop running, it became his way of life. Little by little he was improving, getting good results. First he was Triumph, then Suzuki, then Yamaha, but eventually he became a Honda rider. He soon won most of the Irish races.
In 1977 he took his first win on the Isle of Man on a Yamaha. Since then, Joey and the Triumph Tourist have formed a magical bond. Dunlop was impressed by the atmosphere, the challenge of the long winding courses and the competitive spirit of these brave men.
In 1980 he won his second title of the Triumph Tourist and was adored by fans. Finally, in 1982, Honda acquired a first-class team in the UK. That same year, he won the World Championship Triumph Tourist of F1 for five consecutive years.
The 70s were his best years: between 1983 and 1988 he won a total of 11 Formula 1 races Triumph Tourist senior and junior. However, in 1989 he was unable to participate in racing. Triumph Tourist due to injuries sustained in an accident at Brands Hatch. Since that year, he has had problems. However, in 1992 he won the 125cc class again in his home country.
Between 1992 and 1998, he won 10 Isle of Man races, all in minor classes except for the last one in 1995. However, he did not have access to racing teams to showcase his talents. However, in 2000, Honda UK entrusted Aaron Slater's VTR SP01 to him as his bike. Joey, 48 years old, was still shining in the Tourist Trophy.
But just when Joey thought his luck had changed, a month later it was all over. During a race near Tallinn, Estonia, he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed viciously into a tree, killing him. The day before he had won the 600cc class and a few hours before the fatal accident he had won the Superbike class.
His funeral was attended by more than 50.000 people from all over the world. This shows how much people loved him.