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Farewell William Dunlop: we will never see your like again

Road racing legend William Dunlop
Willis Marshall

William Dunlop will make his final journey this afternoon when he will be laid to rest beside his father Robert and uncle Joey Dunlop in Garryduff Church on the outskirts of Ballymoney.

Thousands of race fans, friends and family, will say their last goodbye to someone who genuinely had a major impact on their lives.

Four days have past since William was so cruelly take away from us all at the Skerries race circuit near Dublin, and in that time, the agony, tears and hurt, have highlighted the scale of the tragedy.

William Dunlop, unlike many other road racers, had that quality appeal that he seemed to hypnotise you when you first set eyes on him.

Immediately you wanted to be in his company and indeed his friend, and in all honesty, everyone who knew him were friends.

William had the mannerisms of a well-educated young man, always kind honest and polite, but his greatest attribute was that he managed to produce a smile even in the worst case scenarios, everything ended with a cheeky grin.

There have been many respects paid to William through the media and social media and continue to do so.

The lad was worthy of being told how great he was and rightly so.

For no praise will ever be good enough for someone who was just too good for the sport he was involved in, the sport that would ultimately take that smile away from his family, friends, sponsors, media, and the entire country.

The country is mourning today and will continue to mourn William for many, many days, months and years ahead.

What this tragedy has done, has never been felt before.

Sadness has turned to anger in many homes as to why this “wean” was taken away from all those who loved him.

It’s just the most dreadful, unthinkable time.

William Dunlop had a major impact on people close to him and indeed he had a personal impact on myself from a journalistic view.

You always knew William would speak to you in his shy, head-bowed whisper, almost embarrassed to be talking to you.

He need never have been shy, he didn’t need to, it was just William.

Never in my life have I meet such a talented young man who through the sport of road racing touched so many lives, mine included.

He was infectious.

You wanted to be associated with William Dunlop; you wanted to be his friend even if he didn’t know who you were.

Losing competitors to the sport of road racing is truly heartbreaking no matter who they are, but William Dunlop’s death has tightened the screw right to the end. It’s just unbearable.

It was an honour to have know William Dunlop and I'm very lucky that he viewed me as his friend and I viewed William as that.

It’s the end of another chapter in the Dunlop dynasty, one that we all thought and wished we would never ever see or hear.

Our hearts as friends and race fans will miss that cheeky smile, the movie-star looks; if you didn’t know he raced motorbikes, you’d have thought he was possibly a tennis star, or something else.

William was just that, something else, a true delight to have been around with.

Many people don’t know the difference between a Honda and a Hoover, but when you mentioned William Dunlop, they knew right away who you where taking about.

Of course our loss today is nothing compared to that of his grandmother May, his mother Louise, brothers Michael and Daniel, his partner Janine, and his beautiful baby daughter Ella.

No child should grow without its father, nor no mother lay her son to rest.

The sport William loved can be ecstatic when it all goes right, but also horribly cruel when it all goes wrong.

Until we meet again it’s goodbye my friend, it’s been a great journey with you, one that we all wish could have lasted an awful lot longer.

We will never see your like again.

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