Joey Dunlop Commemorated with Memorial Site Visit
Longtime companion marks milestone anniversary of much-loved motorcyclist's tragic death in Estonia
BBC pundit Liam Beckett has made a commemorative excursion while in Estonia to pay tribute to motorsport icon and friend Joey Dunlop, who tragically lost his life in a minor international race fifteen years ago.
The sports correspondent was in the country for Crusaders' first round Champions League tie with Levadia Tallinn, based where five-time world champion Dunlop was overcome by the wet conditions on July 2, 2000.
Beckett and a number of players from the NIFL Premiership club made their way to the roadside shrine to the Ballymoney man to pay their respects on behalf of his family back home.
In addition to his world championships, Dunlop won a record 26 Isle of Man TTs as well as 13 North West 200s during his lifetime. His services to the sport earned him an MBE in 1986 while he was awarded an OBE in 1995 in recognition of his less publicised humanitarian work.
Fifty thousand supporters from all divisions and backgrounds turned out to bid a final farewell four days following his death. Eight years later his similarly well-decorated brother Robert also gave his life to the sport in a practice run for the 2008 North West 200.
The family dynasty, which extends to Robert's sons William and Michael, was last year immortalised in DoubleBand Films' acclaimed documentary Road.
The North West 200 meanwhile remains one of the premier events in worldwide motorsport and, with the Dunlop legacy firmly stamped on it, continues to attract over 150,000 visitors every year.
Images courtesy of Press Eye.