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'Doctor Fred' bowing out with lap of honour after three decades of lifesaving at Dundrod

By Staff Reporter

Flying doctor Fred MacSorley will retire in style at the Ulster Grand Prix this weekend.

The 63-year-old GP has been credited with saving many lives over the course of his 30-year service to road racing.

He retires at the conclusion of the MCE Ulster Grand Prix and will be honoured with a parade lap at the Dundrod event on Saturday morning.

'Doctor Fred', as he is affectionately known by the road racing community, will lead the lap with his wife, Dr Alex Magee, riding pillion, followed by the entire medical team and every competitor in Saturday's races.

"I have mixed emotions about retiring," he said. "It has been a massive part of my life and I will miss it hugely. It has been such a huge privilege to be part of the motorcycling community, and an absolute honour to have looked after, in my opinion, some of the greatest sports people in the world.

"The last 30 years have been wonderful," he continued. "I've seen the goodness of human nature; how people deal with both success and tragedy with dignity and the unbelievable support that this community offers to its members.

"And of course on our part it has been a team effort, from the vans, the paramedics, the doctors, Jan Simm and her team, the chaplains; we can't function without the full line-up."

He paid a warm tribute to fellow flying doctor Dr John Hinds, who was killed at a motorcycle event in the Republic in 2015.

"He joined us as a student and his brilliance was immediately obvious. We asked him to come back when he qualified and he was one of the most extraordinary, talented, generous and hardworking doctors I have had the privilege of working with.

"His legacy will live on for many years to come and I hope he's proud of the way the team continued in the aftermath of his untimely death."

Dr MacSorley officially retired from his role as a GP in Lurgan in April. He was awarded an MBE in 2011.

Now he is handing over the road racing baton to a team of three paramedics, including his son, Allister MacSorley, and Paul Roycroft and Jason Rosborough.

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Dr Fred MacSorley with his son Allister, who is also a member of the MCUI Medical team, at the MCE Dundrod 150/Ulster Grand Prix

"I had planned to retire earlier, but it was important to take the time to teach the three lads to take over and I'd like to thank the race organisers for being so patient with the transition."

He continued: "My wife Alex recently retired from her role as clinical geneticist and the parade lap is a wonderful chance for me to take her for a spin and give her an indication of what her husband has been up to all these years!

"My son Allister will obviously take part in the lap with the medical team; my other two sons David and Peter are also both doctors and David will be there to watch, although Peter is currently on a cycling tour in Canada, so he'll miss it.

"I can't pay enough tribute to my wife and family for their unselfish support over the years. It wouldn't have been possible to achieve a tenth of what I have without them."

Dr Fred was presented last year with a replica of one of his helmets from Arai, which he wore at the 2016 MCE UGP and which he will wear again for his parade lap.

The same helmet will be auctioned at a black tie retirement on September 22 at Armagh City Hotel, a dinner organised to raise funds for the MCUI Medical Team.

Asked about what he'll miss most after Saturday's racing at Dundrod, Dr MacSorley said: "The camaraderie with the team, the marshals, the officials and the competitors - everyone, really. It's been a pleasure to work with them all."

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