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Dunlop plans 2006 return
 
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Dunlop plans 2006 return - February 8th 2005


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    Robert Dunlop had just been elected the first member of Irish motor cycling's Hall of Fame at a gala function in the Ramada Hotel in Belfast, and afterwards he told Jimmy Walker: "I hope to return to racing in 2006 and I would like Patsy O'Kane to sponsor me so that I would end up with a last hurrah.

    "Patsy backed me in the great days and it would be wonderful if I could end my career with him alongside me."

    Dunlop enters hospital in a couple of weeks to have his injured leg broken and lengthened. This is an operation he has put off for some considerable time but he now regards it as inevitable.

    Dunlop had suffered massive injuries when he crashed at the 1994 TT races, but despite having been in almost continuous pain and most certainly discomfort, he has managed to maintain a thread, which has seen him not only racing but also winning.

    Dunlop described his award as: "The greatest evening of my life. I never thought for one moment that I would be voted the first recipient of the Hall of Fame accolade. Others like Brian Reid and Ray McCullough are two I could mention who should have been honoured before me."

    The award was brought in for the first time to the Irish Motorcyclist of the Year dinner and certainly it touched a nerve as far as most of us were concerned when Dunlop was announced a winner. After all, his brother Joey would have been the obvious recipient had there been one of these dinners before Dunlop's untimely death in 2000.

    Rider of the Year for the second time was Ryan Farquhar who emotionally thanked everyone who had voted for him and promised to bring home another TT this year.

    He said: "I regard the Isle of Man as the pinnacle. If you win there, that's what makes you number one."

    Farquhar just edged out Michael Laverty with Eugene Laverty third.

    It was a good night for the Laverty's for Eugene was voted Young Rider of the Year and Michael got the short circuit award. In addition to Motorcyclist of the Year Farquhar won the national award for top road racer.