BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Isle of Man, 20/07/2016, BMW Road Race Challenge
One month after the Tourist Trophy, the road racers returned to the Isle of Man for the 61st staging of the Southern 100. After two wins last year, Michael Dunlop was the early favourite for many observers this time. Dunlop more than met expectations with his Hawk Racing BMW S 1000 RR. The 27-year-old competed in four races at the historic event on the Isle of Man and won them all by a convincing margin.
The sequence began with the race for “Corlett’s Trophies”. After six laps, Dunlop triumphed by 12 seconds, even though he slowed down somewhat over the course of the last two laps.
Next up was the “Ellan Vannin Fuels Senior Race,” some of which took place on a wet road surface. This time, the Hawk Racing driver was 25 seconds faster than the rest of the field. “I had a couple of slides with the slick rear tyre on the damp patches, but the bike is working really well. I got my head down and pushed on in the first lap, then just rode it steady from then on,” explained Dunlop at the finish.
Team principal Steve Hicken added: “Two races and two wins for us here at the Southern 100 - it’s a fantastic result for the team and for Michael, the hard work is paying off! We had a few further niggles today but we ironed those out.” That was just the halfway point of the Southern 100 – and Dunlop continued his sequence of wins.
Then came the third triumph – in the prestigious “Manx Gas Solo Championship”. Dunlop had already won this nine-lap race on two occasions, in 2011 and 2012. He was in third after the start but was soon able to move into the lead. From then on, he controlled the race from the front – and claimed victory by seven seconds.
“That was the race I came to win, that's the one I wanted,” Dunlop said afterwards. “I had a good first and second lap, the bike was fantastic. Thanks to Steve, Mark, Tommy and Stuart at home and all of my own sponsors too.”
Dunlop then completed his set of Southern 100 wins with victory in the “Island Aggregates Senior Race,” which was interrupted and then restarted after the Solo Championship. He was in first place on his Hawk Racing RR from pole position to the chequered flag. He finished 15 seconds ahead of the field on the RR, celebrating with a wheelie as he crossed the line.
”I haven’t rode that bike since the TT and I enjoy riding it,” concluded Dunlop after his four wins. “When we heard the Senior race was to be re-scheduled we tried something different with the bike, it didn’t make the difference, but at least we now know this for future races. I am really comfortable on the big bike and to come away with four wins is great.”
“Taking the hat-trick was a fantastic result for the team and for Michael, but then taking four wins from four starts as the Senior race was added back into the timetable is just brilliant,” said Hicken. “After the race was red flagged this morning we were geared up ready to give it everything and the commitment from Michael was incredible, he just blitzed the opposition in the Solo race. We had another clean run for the fourth and final 1000cc race topping off the day. Thank you to those involved in making the Southern 100 such a great success; organisers, fans, sponsors and team members alike.”