Belfast Telegraph

Bikers left shocked by ace's death in Czech road race

By Lesley-Anne Henry

A motorcycle road racer tragically killed in the Czech Republic was an experienced rider who never had a major incident during his lengthy biking career.

Adrian McFarland from Plumbridge, near Omagh in Co Tyrone, crashed in a superbike race close to the the town of Hradec Kralove on Saturday.

The married 41-year-old father-of-two, who was described as one of Ulster's leading competitors, had been a regular on the Isle of Man, achieving four top 10 finishes in the Manx Grand Prix races.

Last night the motorcycling fraternity was offering support to his grieving relatives.

"His death has come as a big shock," said David McCallister, secretary for the Motorcycle Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre).

"During his racing career he never had any major incidents or accidents. He was a seasoned campaigner and always finished in the top half dozen racers. The Ulster Centre wishes to express its sincere sympathy to Adrian's entire family and circle of friends."

A former sponsor, Mark McCausland, said he was always proud to have the motorcyclist riding his bikes.

"He was a safe driver and in all the times that he rode for me, he has only fallen off once," said Mr McCausland. "I was proud every time that he rode my bikes."

Former incident officer with the Motorcycle Union of Ireland, Tony Harvey, said: "He was always a fairly fast, yet safe rider. His death is a great loss to the boys he was racing alongside."

Among the political representatives paying tribute last night was SDLP MLA for West Tyrone, Joe Byrne, who said the road racer's death had come as a shock to the close-knit rural community.

Meanwhile, a 24-year-old man also died on Saturday after a two-vehicle road crash in Co Tyrone. The accident happened on the Ballagh Road near Clogher.

The victim, who has been named as Peter Ritchie from the Comber area, is believed to have been a passenger in one of the vehicles. He was taken to hospital but died from his injuries.

Mr Ritchie was on his way to play in a cricket match between Clogher CC and his club Ards.

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