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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

World Champ Killed on Wet Race Course




TALLINN, Estonia -- Five-time motorcycle world champion Joey Dunlop was killed in a road race Sunday when his bike skidded in heavy rain and hit a tree.


Dunlop, 48, from Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, was racing in a 125cc race on a 5.95-kilometer road circuit in the Estonian capital when he crashed.


"The accident happened because of the rain. He lost control of the bike on a turn that sort of bends at a sharp angle and that is pretty tricky when it's raining," said Tallinn police spokesman Kristo Kelder.


Police said Dunlop died instantly. The rest of the day's racing was canceled.


Dunlop was awarded an OBE, or Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for his charity work, mostly in the Balkans and Romania, and an MBE, or Member of the Order of British Empire, for his motorcycling exploits.


In Ballymoney, mourners laid flowers at the pub owned by Dunlop. Northern Ireland's top two officials, David Trimble and Seamus Mallon, said the country was "shocked and saddened" by the death of "Northern Ireland's premier motorbike ace."


Dunlop started racing in 1969 and won 26 Isle of Man TT races, the first in 1977. He won five Formula One world championships between 1980 and 1988.


Dunlop is survived by his wife, Linda, and five children.