WILLIAM Dunlop will be posthumously inducted into the Irish motorcycling Hall of Fame at the Cornmarket Motorbike Awards in Belfast later this month.
The popular rider will follow in the footsteps of his late father and uncle, Robert and Joey, who previously were added to the prestigious role of honour.
William was tragically killed as a result of a crash during practice at the Skerries 100 in July 2018, plunging the sport into mourning.
His partner Janine, along with his mother Louise, will accept the accolade at the Crowne Plaza Hotel next Friday.
Louise Dunlop says it will be an honour to collect the award on behalf of her son, albeit a heart-breaking occasion.
“We are still in complete shock after the tragic incident last summer, but any award the Dunlop family has ever received has been very special,” she said.
“There is a sad poignancy that William goes into the Hall of Fame alongside his dad and Uncle Joey, who we all still miss dearly.
“The Dunlops’ achievements, which span almost 50 years, have left an indelible mark on sport in Northern Ireland.
“With this award it's just lovely to know the Dunlop name is still a force to be reckoned with, but it will be an emotional evening,” she added.
Louise also wanted to thank everyone who has supported them since William’s passing.
“We have been overwhelmed with the amount of love and kindness we have received,” she continued.
“It truly has been remarkable. William was loved by everyone and we are so proud of his achievements, as we are of all my boys.”
William, who started racing in 2000 when he was aged 15, accumulated 108 Irish National Road Race wins during an illustrious career. He also achieved victories at the international events the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix.
He joins some of Ireland’s most famous riders in the Hall of Fame including former World Champion Brian Reid, Moto GP rider Jeremy McWilliams, road racing stars Phiilip McCallen, Steve Cull, Johnny Rea, Eddie Laycock and Alan Irwin, plus top motocross rider Gordon Crockard.
A dozen other awards will also be presented at the sold-out event, including Cornmaket Irish Motorcyclist of the Year, IFS Road Racer of the Year, Blackhorse Best Short Circuit Rider on UK and Ireland circuits, JWA Team of the Year, RPS Hall of Fame, Greenlight Television Special Recognition and Bet McClean Race of the Year.
This weekend also see's the annual Road Racers and Short Circuit Racers Charity football match taking place at Seaview on Sunday, January 13, scheduled for a 2pm kick off. Funds raised at the game will be split between William Dunlop's young family and the Children's Cancer Unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
*For more on this see next week's Chronicle which is out on Tuesday, January 15.