In the world of motorsports, things can change very quickly. Take the 2022 Isle of Man TT course charted by 19-time TT winner Michael Dunlop. Back at the beginning of March, 2022, he announced plans to compete with the Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM) team, aboard a Ducati Panigale V4 R in the Superbike class.
By the end of April, 2022, that had apparently all changed. When it came time for the IOMTT’s official launch, Michael Dunlop officially announced that his PBM deal was off. He did not give further details, only stated that it was no longer going ahead as planned. He did have a previous relationship with PBM, having raced with the team back in 2011. Originally, he had planned to race with PBM in 2020, but of course you know how every racing event that year turned out.
By May 9, 2022, Dunlop pulled the wraps off his new Hawk Suzuki GSX-R1000R ahead of the 2022 North West 200. He’s still looking for sponsorship, but having his bike sorted out is more than half the battle ahead of two of the biggest road racing events on the calendar.
“It has been one of those situations where I have had to go back to someone I can trust. Stuart has always said to call him if I needed anything. I made the call and they have built this Suzuki for me. Steve and Stuart [Hicken, of Hawk Racing] might not have the biggest budget in the world, but they always give 100 percent, and that is all you can ask for,” Dunlop told the Belfast News Letter.
“We’ve enjoyed a lot of success with Michael over the years, obviously these circumstances aren’t ideal but we’ll do everything we can give him the bike he needs.
“[Dunlop] knows the team and he knows the bike. We had a couple of outings with Michael last year in the British Championship which obviously helps, and before we made this arrangement with him, we’d still been working away on our own TT preparations for Shaun [Anderson],” Steve Hicken added.
Michael Dunlop is the third-winningest TT racer ever, ranking only behind John McGuinness, MBE (23 wins) and Michael’s uncle, Joey Dunlop (26 wins). Can he add a 20th TT win to his record in 2022? Stay tuned.