In 1990 Joey made his TT return after an enforced lay off due to injuries sustained when brought off in a first lap pile up caused by Stephene Mertens at the 1989 Brands Hatch World Superbike round.
Pictured here at Ginger Hall in the Formula 1 race he was understandably struggling with the big 750, finishing in a respectable eighth place,
"I tried hard to Ramsey on the first lap and got tired, so I then settled in for a finish."
Only two hours after the end of the Formula 1 race Joey was lining up again
on the little RS125 Honda for the Ultra Lightweight TT.
It was another typical gritty performance which would have seen yer maun join brother Robert on the podium for sure but for a last lap retirement at Kirk Michael just six seconds behind second placed man Ian Newton.
was this Lightweight race that proved to me that Joey was still going to be
a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Lining up with the seconds ticking away till the start, the battery went flat.
A mad rush to the garage to fit a spare meant that Joey was the last man away down Glenclutchery road.
He still kept going though, carving his way past the lower runners the familiar yellow Arai well tucked in to set his fastest ever lap on a 250 on the second circuit, 113.68 mph.
Yet again though the Irish luck deserted him when a third lap misfire forced Joey to retire at the pits.
Later when pressed for his thoughts on the week he had suffered so far, "It doesn't seem to be my TT " is all he would say.
Un-like some, spitting the dummy was not Joey's style, and the fans loved him for it.
for me, captures what the TT is all about.
Technically it's not very good, I admit, but click on it, enlarge to full screen size and then sit back and feel the ATMOSPHERE.
Taken on the mountain during practice, on a clear still sunny June evening.
These conditions are pretty rare up here as it can be a different world between the Gooseneck and Kates Cottage from the lower sections of the course.
Imagine for a moment the scene, late evening sun sinking lower by the minute in a hazy blue sky, practice nearly over, bikes getting less and less frequent, so you can hear each one singing from miles away before you see them come into view. Joey always seemed to be one of the last riders to appear on evenings such as these, So visibly fast and smooth, engine note those few hundred revs higher, a clear road ahead for the King of the Mountain.
A lack of practice on the full factory RVF missile left him playing catch up to Hislop's identical machine from the Senior TT's very first drop of the flag.
Dunlop was too astute to push his luck on an un-familiar machine, so settled into a comfortable second, ready to pounce on any mistakes by the young Scotsman.
Joey flew round the 37.73 miles to set his fastest race average ever, better than his previous best lap in-fact, but it still wasn't enough to beat Steve Hislop, who was always the man on a mission.
So near yet so far, win number fourteen would have to wait another year.
Hailwoods record of 14 TT wins was equalled by Joey when he crossed the line
nine seconds ahead of brother Robert in the 125 race.
Said Robert " maybe he'll pack up now and give us all a chance "
noise at Glentramman during the Formula 1 TT, re-run on a Sunday after bad
weather forced the red flag out after two laps.
He was fortunate to get this far though after a close encounter of the canine kind at the high speed drop past the Highlander, and worse still had to take avoiding action five miles later when a van backed into the road at Barregarroo, but the un-flappable Dunlop kept his cool to finish in third place behind team mates Steve Hislop and Phil Mcallen.
It gave Honda a clean sweep of the podium for it's new RC45.
had to put Roberts horrific Formula 1 smash to the back of his mind when he
chalked up win No. 16 in the 125 TT.
At the finish though Joey later admitted " I won this one for him "
It meant that no one other than the two Dunlop brothers have won this race since it's 1994
first ( for the 17th time ) first you have to finish.....
A panicked pit stop by Phil Mcallen cost him certain victory in the Junior when his Honda ran dry on the last lap just three miles from the chequered flag and sixteen seconds in hand over second placed Dunlop.
" I had no idea I'd won untill I crossed the line and everyone cheered " said Joey.
was a repeat performance in the Senior TT when Joey followed Hislop and Mcallen
home for third.
" It's been a good fortnight so I'm not complaining about ending it on the rostrum.
" It's my best TT for a long time, I was tired out and just wanted to finish. "
Captured here in 150mph mid flight at Ballacrie, Joey had an almost unique line at this part of the course, way over to the right hand side of the road almost in the gutter which would kick the bike up high into the air, drawing cheers by the many spectators ( and photographers ) at the road side.
flew in the Lightweight 250 TT, leading from start to finish and breaking
Ian Loughers five year race record for good measure by an incredible 21 seconds.
Just three hours earlier he had suffered the indignity of seizing up five miles into the first lap of the 125 Race, " As I went passed the Highlander, I was waiting for the 250 to seize like the 125 did in the morning.
" It took me to Glen Helen to put that out of my mind so I could concentrate on racing."
Joey with a clear road and his head well down came within two seconds of the 250 lap record, despite having to slow down to pit at the end of the lap two.
Lap records are broken, but race wins last forever, and so it was as Joey paced himself to the flag to record his 18th top spot at the TT.
first time the Junior race was for 600cc four strokes machines only.
Joey was riding a CBR Honda for Jack Valentine and Steve mellors V&M outfit.
He finished just off the podium in fourth place. The road bike type classes never seemed to suit Joeys rhythem in my opinion, they needed a more "out of control" short circuit style aggression to do well on.
The shot is from Braddan Bridge with Joey sandwiched between Marc Flynn and Steve Ward.
Joey rolled back the years to win his first Senior TT since 1988 when he crossed the line 34 seconds ahead of V twin Ducati mounted Ian Duffus.
The popular publican joked afterwards "I'm going to have to start training if I'm going to ride these big bikes!"
It put him one victory away from an amazing 20 TT wins, but Joey was still coy when asked about it, "I don't know about that, but I'll be back next year trying."
follows the white line on the flat out run through Crosby, his intermediate
rear tyre shreaded after one lap.
With no tyres ready for a wheel change - Joey was forced out of the pits for a second lap on the shot tyre as race leader Mcallen dissapeared into the distance to record his first of four victories for the week.
that Joey was the absolute master on a 250, remember that both Hislop and
McCallen have never won on the quarter litre machines at the TT, it positively
rankles them, and here is Joey not only racking up his fifth 250 success,
but his 20th TT win.
Jim Moodie pushed him hard though on the fourth and final lap.
" I was trying to save fuel as I thought I might not have enough at the finish.
" then my boards came out saying I was being caught by Moodie so I went as hard as I could."
Here is probably the best photograph I have taken of the great man.
I'd tried a few times before to get this shot over the years but found the bikes so damn fast that even with a top shutter speed of 1/1000 sec, it still left the bikes blurred.
It really is a frightening spectacle to behold, I know some people who will not watch from the cross roads at the top of BrayHill, it really looks that bad.
The riders acknowledged safe method is to physically pull on the bars (130mph+) to lift the front wheel as the bike hits the crown of the road by the traffic lights to prevent any tankslappers as they power down BrayHill.
Don't try this at home!
Click on the image to see "Race Face" Dunlop style, Foggy eat your heart out.
cloak of Mananin delayed the start of the 125 TT for six-and-a-half hours.
It also resulted in the race being shortened to two laps as the organizers still had the 600 Junior to squeeze in.
At the end of the opening lap it was former Manx Grand Prix winner Gavin Lee that lead Dunlop by a slim 2.5 seconds, at Ramsey with just thirteen misty miles to the finish, they could not be split.
Lee crossed the line first, but they don't call Joey King of the Mountain for nothing, it was he who had clawed out a six seconds advantage to take his incredible TT win total to 21.
the choice of either the RC 45 or a 500 Honda V twin Grand Prix missile for
the Senior TT, but which would he choose?
The 500 had been off the pace some what at the North West 200, an out and out power circuit, but would the nimbler handling 2-stroke have the edge on the Island?
Jim Moodie also had a similar 500 mount, and had taken to it immediately.
As always, Joey was playing his cards close to his chest.
pit stop cost Joey dear during a scorching hot Formula 1 race.
Running at the top of the leaderboard 10 seconds adrift of the fast starting Phillip McCallen, Joey came in for a schedueled tyre change at the end of lap two.
A stripped wheel nut jammed at the rear of the Honda losing him seventy valuble seconds, his chance was gone.
He soldiered on to a sixth place finish.
McCallen was on a roll, but it was a different story in the next Race, McCallens bogey, the 250 Lightweight.
only had to witness the 1997 Lightweight to judge the contrasting styles between
Joey, the undisputed King of the Mountain, and Phillip McCallen the supposed
successor to his throne.
This was not to be the race when Joey abdicated, it was a hard fast paced battle for the first two laps between the pair with nothing more than a couple of seconds separating them as they came into the pits.
McCallen gambled on a longer stop with a rear tyre change and had to watch Joey disappear down Glenclutchery Road eighteen seconds up on corrected time.
He set of in frenzied pursuit of his arch rival with the advantage of fresh rubber and seventy miles to make up the lost ground, then disaster struck.
Going into the 130mph Quarry Bend section the 250 Honda let go spitting Phillip down the road, luckily escaping with just heavy bruising.
Joey was able to ease the pace on his badly sliding machine for the last lap to record his 22nd win.
" It was hard for the first couple of laps, I thought Phil was going to pull away, but when he didn't it gave me the heart to chase him. "
a wretched 125 Ultra Lightweight TT for Joey with his Honda well down on power
compared to the winning machine of Ian Lougher.
It wasn't all gloom for the Dunlop clan when Robert had a fantastic ride to claim the final podium place in third, an incredible comeback from his near fatal accident in 1994.
Prix bike was left under wraps for the Senior TT when Joey opted for the reliability
of the RC45.
Yet again the sun was shining but it was a miserable race for the fans favourite, finishing in seventh position at the flag.
Would he give the big bikes a miss for next year?
Honda's 50th anniversary year, all the top brass from the Japanese factory
would be paying a visit to the Island.
Joey very nearly missed the party.
A big highside crash on the 125 at the Tandragee meeting in May had left him nursing a broken wrist and collarbone.
It also left his left hand middle finger so badly mangled that it had to be amputated.
How much pain he was really suffering with he never let on, but he made the decision not to race the bigger Formula 1 bike after his first lap out on the 125.
I personally thought all things considered Joey could not be expected to win a race this year,
the fact that he was starting practice week at all was a victory in itself.
Joeys first race of the week then, the Lightweight 250, riding Callum Ramsey's GP kitted RS 250 Honda.
The weather evened out any machine advantage that Joey might have enjoyed as it absolutely poured down before the scheduled start, would it stay wet or might it dry up as the race wore on?, tyre choice would be crucial.
Joey opted for deep hand cut slicks front and back, whist other riders gambled on full slicks, notably Ian Lougher, who was forced to retire as the conditions worsened.
At the end of the first of three laps Joey's pit crew were expecting him in for fuel, Joey had other ideas, " I saw a board saying I had to pit after one lap, but I thought no way, I knew I had enough fuel for two laps and if I stopped my race was over "
It was a prophetic decision, as unbeknown the organisers wisely decided to cut the race to two laps as the leaders reached Glen Helen.
That left Joey with a massive 43 second margin over next placed man Bob Jackson, lets be honest though, any one who was brave enough to make it to the finish in this race was a winner.
For Joey it was win No 23 and Honda celebrated TT victory No 95 in their anniversary year, nearly a quarter of them supplied courtesy of the quietly spoken Dunlop.
eyes were again on Joey for a repeat victory in the Ultra-Lightweight race.
It was not to be - as a misfire hampered his progress to finish way down in ninth position.
The fans were appeased when Robert, like his brother another walking wounded after a North-West spill, took the honours for an emotional win.
more Formula 1 TT win was what Joey wanted more than anything.
It was four years since the King of the mountain had toasted success on a big bike, another win was over due.
He still continued to dominate on the smaller bikes where his finesse and smoothness was needed, unlike the man handling brute strength needed to tame the RC 45 over
The new generation of TT stars such as David Jefferies were half the age of Joey, people seem to forget that.
Another factor for this year was the new F1/Senior class limit of 1000cc, the RC 45 was now giving away 250cc to Yamaha's rapid R1.
The race was quickly red flagged after Paul Orritt had a nightmare get off at the bottom of BrayHill just one mile after the start.
After a major clean up of crash debris and the rider safely in hospital the Manx flag dropped again to begin the reduced four lap rerun,Joey, on the number twelve plate, set off at a cracking rate to lead David Jefferies by some seven seconds as he thundered in for his only pit stop.
The back tyre testimony to his red hot pace, was well worn, it had to be changed even though it would cost him the lead.
Glen Helen lap three saw Joey in third seven seconds down on the Yamaha of Jeffereies, growing in confidence after a North-West 200 hat trick, a supreme effort by Dunlop on the fourth and final lap saw him record his fastest ever speed around the Mountain circuit at 123.06 mph.
It wasn't enough, as Jefferies kept ahead to record Yamaha's first ever Formula 1 victory by 16 seconds.
two men from Ballymoney, Adrian Archibald shadows Joey over the mountain in
the 600 Junior TT.
How they entertained the crowds, never more than a couple of seconds apart for the last three laps.
Dunlop finished in a fine fifth place, and was far from dis-spirited after the tusstle,
&; I enjoyed that, it was like racing at home having a dice with Adrian, he was teaching me a thing or two about riding a 600&;.
key word here was 'enjoyed', unlike other superstar racers, Joey didn't race
just to win, he raced for the sheer pleasure and exhilaration that it still
gave him after all these years.
He still possesd the same determination and enthusiasm as from his first TT twenty three years earlier - back in 1976.
must have known that the writing was on the wall for the RC 45 long before
the Senior TT had got under way.
Honda had a new bike in the wings for next year, a 1000cc V twin, a new departure for the factory which had stuck with the V4 formula since the 850 model on which Joey had won his very first World Championship way back in 1983.
In the race David Jefferies was again the winner, Joey had a steady ride to fifth position, but he would be back again for the first TT of the new century.
It couldn't come quick enough.