TT stars Michael and William Dunlop are racing against the clock for their toughest-ever challenge – as a fundraising push is organised to save their family home.
Time is running out for the Dunlops to raise a substantial sum to prevent losing the home in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, that was built by their late father, race legend Robert, and where both brothers still live with their mother Louise.
The house has been put at risk after Robert allegedly fell victim to a conman who persuaded him to remortgage the property on the back of a bogus investment.
Iconic items of TT memorabilia, including the leathers and helmets belonging to their uncle, 26-times TT winner Joey, are going under the hammer as part of the fund-raising effort. They will be on display at the Paddock behind The Grandstand from today.
The auction and race night, being held at The Crescent in Queen’s Promenade, Douglas, on Sunday (August 25), together with a golf day at Douglas Golf Club the following Thursday, have been organised by Martin Marlow, long time family friend of the Dunlops.
Martin, who is the founder of TT contractors Marlow Construction, said: ‘Time is running out for the family. Robert fell victim to an alleged con and the family home is at risk.
‘The boys have put all their energy and earnings into trying to save the family home. They have been working day and night to try to raise the money. They have been under a lot of pressure. This has been devastating for them.
‘People are under the false impression they are really well off but unfortunately there is not much money in road racing.’
Five-times TT winner Robert Dunlop sustained life-threatening injuries after he crashed exiting Ballaugh village in 1994 during the Formula 1 TT. He spent a long time in hospital.
In 1996 he bought a farm on Lisboy Road in Ballymoney on which he built a family home.
But all that is now at risk, The house has been up for sale for many months but no buyer has been found and the bank could take possession if a substantial sum isn’t raised soon.
Robert was killed in crash in the NW200 in 2008 at the age of just 48.
Among Dunlop memorabilia going under the hammer at Sunday’s Night at the TT Races and auction at the Crescent are Joey’s Rothman and Downtown Radio leathers, and two of his helmets including one from the 2000 TT, his last TT before he died as well as one of his jackets from the TT 2000.
Other lots include two of Robert Dunlop’s 125 Hondas, a signed Steve Hislop helmet and an Ian Lougher helmet, and photos of the Dunlop brothers in action.
Companies can sponsor a race for £2,000 with sponsors entered into a draw on the night to win one of Robert’s racing bikes.
Stars from the TT, the TV and world champions in other sports will be taking part in the golf day at Douglas golf Club on August 29.
T-shirts with the Dunlop brothers’ picture on the front are on sale at the Paddock, price £20, as well as Dickie Kelly’s latest CD entitled Mickie D on a Jet Ski which tells the story of Michael Dunlop’s achievements so far.
MD Racing chairman Mr Marlow and his wife Maria also sponsor several sporting clubs in the island including St Mary’s Boxing Club, Marown Badminton Club and Ellan Vannin Gaelic Football Club. He has also recently built the Ard na Mara holiday homes at Port Soderick with the aim ultimately of donating profits towards MD Racing and the other clubs.
For more information about both fund-raisers, or have any memorabilia to sell or donate, contact Martin Marlow on 494896 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Donations can be made by cheque to MD Racing Ltd or by card by emailing Martin.