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Father of competitor killed in Ulster Rally urges expert check of race routes

Published 15/09/2015

Jimmy McRae should check rally race courses, according to the father of a young driver who died
Jimmy McRae should check rally race courses, according to the father of a young driver who died

Motor racing legend Jimmy McRae should be asked to patrol the route before major events to make sure they are safe, the father of a competitor who died in Northern Ireland said.

The Scottish seven-time Circuit of Ireland winner and British rally champion would be the ideal candidate to try and prevent future fatalities, Ian Cathcart told an inquest in Belfast.

Timothy Cathcart, 20, from Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, died of brain injuries after his car left the road during the Ulster Rally close to his home town last year.

His Welsh co-driver Dai Roberts, from Carmarthen, was injured and airlifted to hospital, organisers said.

His father raised concerns about a bump in the road immediately after the finishing line and the construction of a fence which may have hit his son in the head.

Mr Cathcart said: "We need to have somebody that has been a racing driver and can look for all these things that the driver is not going to see (because of the speed during the race).

"There should be somebody that is used to speed, maybe it is a job that Dai can take on when he retires.

"Jimmy McRae, semi-retired, Colin McRae's father, someone like Jimmy should be going over these stages."

Mr Cathcart said his son derived his interest in racing from the family.

"He had a natural love and was doing very well. He had lots of ambitions, he wanted to be a property developer as well."

He first realised his son was dead after he was called to the incident and somebody sympathised with him.

Then he saw his son's body under a cover beside the car.

He told senior coroner John Leckey: "What we want out of this is that something like this does not happen again.

"This death could have been avoided, I feel."

He said he would like to see someone going down the course shortly before races to check for hazards.

He said his son's head injury may have been the result of colliding with parts of the fence.

"I would also like to see the fence rails going on the other side of the posts rather than the front."

Mr Cathcart claimed two experienced drivers who crossed the line before his son expressed concern about a bump in the road after the finish line.

The inquest was adjourned for reports.

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