Sunday, 5 May 2019

Who do you think you are, Joey Dunlop?

I was at the 2019 VJMC Show in Dublin today and was in awe of some of the stunning machinery on display. One machine that really grabbed my attention was an immaculate 1997 RVF400 NC35. I was shooting around it when I noticed that it was signed by the late Joey Dunlop. I enquired about the back story to this and think it's well worth sharing the details.

While many racing motorbikes can claim some form of a link to Joey Dunlop, this RVF400 is one of relatively few that he used on the road. Joey rode the bike while visiting friends in Australia in March 1998. While out on a ride he was stopped for speeding by a Queensland traffic policeman who sarcastically enquired, 'Who do you think you are, Joey Dunlop?'  Can you imagine the policeman's surprise when the rider removed a trademark yellow Arai helmet and replied: 'Aye, that's who I am.' 

Joey was holidaying at the time with old friends from Ulster, John and Nick Boyd, who were trading as Southside Motorcycle Dismantlers in Slacks Creek, Queensland and had imported the Honda in late 1997. The Boyds loaned Joey the Honda, on which he clocked up around 10,000 kilometres. Correspondence on file from Kevin Pascoe, a friend of the Boyds and the Honda's next owner, reveals that Joey had only recently obtained a road licence and suggests that he probably covered more road miles on this machine than any other. Before Joey left Australia he signed the fuel tank.

He returned to his friends in 2000 and rode the bike again for a while and on this occasion signed a side panel.

I hope this story makes you smile when you think of Yer Maun.

The rest of my photos of Joey are here - Joey Dunlop Tribute

And the rest of my photos from the 2019 VJMC Show are here - 2019 VJMC Show


  1. Nice back story about a legend and a special NC35. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi there,I was working at Brisbane Honda when Joey was in town back in 1998 & I can validate this Tale.Dave. RPM Plymouth.

  3. MCN ran an Ad with this backstory in the 2000s when the bike was imported to the UK.I've recently spoken to the Dealer Team Manager to find a copy but no digital archive,hence difficult to find, thus leading here through google search.Dave RPM Plymouth.

  4. One addition to the story as I was told it was that ,rather than issue him with a speeding fine, Joey was invited into the local pub that night as a Celebrity & spent the evening drinking with the locals.Dave RPM Plymouth