Isle of Man TT: Michael Dunlop determined to add to TT success
For Michael Dunlop, the combination of riding for a top factory team in the Superbike races and running his own team in the other classes at the Isle of Man TT suits him down to the ground.
Dunlop rides for the Tyco BMW outfit for the second successive year on the roads while campaigning a Superstock BMW and Supersport Honda in MD Racing colours with backing from his personal sponsors.
A hat-trick in 2018 took his tally of wins to 18, third on the all-time winners' list, but he plans to improve on that total this year.
"Tyco is a fully based full-time motorcycle team whereas my team is basically a load of hillbillies having fun," said Dunlop.
"The man who looks after my Stock bike has been with me 10 years. He's not a mechanic by trade, he's an electrician.
"The young lad who does our tyres is a truck fitter - so we've got a very random team.
"The buck stops with me though. I build everything and the boys maintain it so if anything happens it's my fault."
Dunlop is the third-fastest rider ever around the Isle of Man, thanks to the first-ever sub-17 minute lap of the Mountain Course in the 2016 Senior race, and is only headed by his late uncle Joey (26) and John McGuinness (23) in the solo role of honour.
'I'm not the most friendly person in the world'
Four of his 18 victories have come in the Superbike race and three in the blue-riband Senior event but, while every success is a treasured one, the Ballymoney man takes particular pleasure in winning on the bikes he has helped prepare himself.
"It's grand until you have 50 engines lying on the floor beside you," explained the 30-year-old.
"There's no money spared and I try to get the best engines and equipment. You have got to make sure you have everything mechanically sound.
"I do as much as I can at the workshop. The boys do all the work at trackside and even at the weekends in the lead-up to races the boys come down to the workshop and we get as much done as we can.
"I've got real good lads to work with and we can run a good team.
"I enjoy it to a degree but when you have a lot of sponsors to try and keep right there's a whole big package and I'm not the most friendly person in the world."
The Supersport class has yielded seven wins for Dunlop, with three coming in the Superstock category and another in the Lightweight Supertwins.
That Supertwins success 12 months ago followed triumphs in the Superbike and Supersport earlier in the week.
New engine, new chassis and 110% effort
As well as chalking up victories in a variety of classes the five-time North West 200 winner has enjoyed success with six different manufacturers, including six on Hondas and six on BMW machinery.
He holds the lap records for the Supersport and Lightweight classes and race records for the Superbike and Lightweight.
His TT ended on a disappointing note last year however when he finished fourth in the week-ending Senior finale, well off the pace of the epic battle which unfolded between eventual winner Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison.
"You know how fast you can go and when you can't bring that to the table it's frustrating. It was disappointing for the team too that we couldn't deliver on the day.
"I couldn't bring them back on the day what they deserved for the effort they put in. I'll give it 110% but I can only do what I can do.
"This year we have a completely new bike in the new BMW - it's a completely different package to the 2018 bike - a totally different engine, chassis, everything.
"While I'll run it in my own team colours in the Superstock race I'll be getting a lot of input from Tyco BMW."