Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Two days ago Wayne Hamilton was on top of world ... now bike fans in mourning

Wayne Hamilton

The news of the death of up-and-coming motorcycle racer Wayne Hamilton has been described by former champion Phillip McCallen as "the worst in the world".

Hamilton was killed at a race on the Isle of Man just 48 hours after a stunning victory.

The 20-year-old road racer died following a horrific crash at the thirteenth milestone during yesterday's Junior Manx Grand Prix.

Hamilton was holding on to third place on his 600cc Yamaha during the third lap of the race when he was killed.

A rising star of the road racing scene, he had only celebrated his success in winning the Newcomers race on Saturday.

Hamilton, from Annaghmore near Portadown, was single.

He is the second rider from Northern Ireland to die in a road race in the space of two days.

Tributes have poured in for the young biker who seemed destined for a successful racing career.

Former road racer and fellow Portadown native Phillip McCallen, who was with Wayne Hamilton's father David on the Isle of Man, said he had been showing "superb potential".

"It's just the worst thing in the world," said Mr McCallen.

"This man has just lost his son and it's just a terrible, terrible loss to the family and at the minute they can't take that in. It's going to take some time.

"Wayne was just having a superb time here. He was so happy that he'd just won the Newcomers.

"He was riding really, really well, showing superb potential.

"He wasn't a lad who was a crasher. Talking with the family, he's only had a couple of crashes.

"He was a sensible lad, feeling his way to hopefully be a very, very good racer."

Manx Motor Cycle Club chairman Bill Bennett described the tragedy as a "great loss to the sport".

"Wayne had already achieved notable success in his road racing career. He had already set the meeting alight with his excellent performance in Saturday's Newcomers race and I have no doubt that he would have won many races on the Isle of Man.

"He is a great loss to the sport and I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to his friends and family."

Earlier this month, Mr Hamilton fended off the much more experienced talents of Dungannon rider Ryan Farquhar during the Dundrod 150 race at the Ulster Grand Prix.

He was also the Ulster and Irish Junior road race champion in 2009.

Paying tribute, Mr Farquhar said: "He had a tremendous talent and he could have made it to the top had this not happened.

"It's his family and friends who are now left to pick up the pieces."

Fellow rider, Ballymoney's William Dunlop, said Hamilton's talent on the track was clear to see.

"He was actually very very good. He was definitely a talent on the track.

"You can usually see a good rider from how they ride the 250cc bikes - that's where he started.

"He's been getting more and more confident after taking on Ryan Farquhar earlier this month. But it's been really bad over the last while with road deaths."

Newry and Mourne MLA Danny Kennedy extended his sympathies to Wayne Hamilton's family and friends.

"I understand he was a very promising young rider who had already achieved success in motorcycle racing.

"This news is very tragic for his family and the local community and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time."

The death follows that of Tyrone rider and father-of-two Adrian McFarland (41), who died after a crash in the Czech Republic on Saturday. The Plumbridge man died during a race near the town of Hradec Kralove.

A regular competitor on the Isle of Man, he had achieved four top 10 finishes in the Manx Grand Prix races.

During the famous Isle of Man TT road races in June, three bikers died after crashing, including Meath man, Derek Brien (34).

He died after a high-speed crash during a four-lap Supersport race in June.

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