by Kyle White
Michael Dunlop is adamant he is wholeheartedly serious about competing in the Sidecar class at next year's Isle of Man TT races.
Dunlop, who notched his maiden victory on the Island in the Supersport class in 2009 and added his second success when he eclipsed TT legend John McGuinness in the Superstock race at the iconic festival in June, tested a Honda outfit at Jurby earlier this month.
Incredibly, he lapped faster than former world champion Tim Reeves and his passenger Dipash Chauhan in Nick Crowe's outfit with TT specialist Dan Sayle in the chair.
Dunlop, who has yet to confirm his plans for 2012 but could make the switch to Honda machinery in the Supersport and Superbike classes, said: “This is no PR exercise. If I'm going to drive a Sidecar at the TT I'm going out there to try and win it, I won't be messing about.
“I get enough PR - I write a column for the Belfast News Letter every week during the season, I write for Road Racing Ireland Magazine and I get coverage in other papers and magazines, so it's not for the PR.
“It was a great buzz driving a Sidecar and I really enjoyed the whole day. I was naturally good at it and people might ask why I want to race a Sidecar now, but maybe a few years down the line they won't be around any more,” added the 22-year-old from Ballymoney in Northern Ireland.
“No-one would even think about doing it and it's something I'd like to have a go at.”
Dunlop, never one to mince his words, accepts that adding another class to his already hectic race itinerary at the TT would be a huge undertaking, but he feels he can pull it off.
“It would be hectic during the TT and if I go through with it then the Sidecar would just have to be sitting there ready for me to jump into during practice.
“Some of the big teams might think I'm an idiot but I'm not too bothered what they think,” he said.
“If I'm good enough to win solo races and a Sidecar race they can't ignore me. Last year people said I was mad not to race for TAS Suzuki but I still walked away with another win at the TT and three wins at the Ulster Grand Prix by doing my own thing. Someone has to be different don't they?
“My sponsors have always been behind me and I know they'll be with me if I decide to do this, but I won't go ahead with it unless I know hand on heart that I am up to the job.”
Dunlop and his elder brother William made their debuts at the Macau Grand Prix last weekend, where they finished 12th and 13th respectively.