Belfast Telegraph

Italian rider critical following crash at Tandragee road race

By Claire O'Boyle

An Italian motorcyclist was last night critically ill in hospital after a crash at the Tandragee 100 road race.

Experienced rider Dario Cecconi (38) was taken to Craigavon Area Hospital by police escort on Saturday after the two-bike crash during the Senior Support race of the Co Armagh event.

The other rider suffered minor injuries.

The smash - on the final lap on the approach to Bells Crossroads - happened amid worsening weather conditions and saw the red flags come out and the showpiece Superbike and Supertwin events abandoned.

The Tuscan, who describes himself on Facebook as 'Paddy Italian Stallion', was taking part in the popular meeting for the fifth time.

Mr Cecconi has also competed in the North West 200, Cookstown 100 and Dundrod 150, as well as events in the Republic and his native Italy.

He is not believed to have any family connection to Ireland, but has travelled back and forth many times to take part in motorbike races.

Club secretary for the Tandragee 100 Anne Forsythe said: "We are very fond of Dario and are hoping and praying for the best."

The incident came after TV star Guy Martin and Magherafelt's Paul Jordan collided and came off their bikes in the opening race.

They were both uninjured.

A spokesperson for the North Armagh Motorcycle & Car Club (Tarmac Section) Ltd said: "(We) can confirm that just after the chequered flag went out for the Senior Support race on Saturday, April 22, that a 38-year-old competitor, Dario Cecconi from Italy, sustained serious injuries and remains in a critical condition in hospital."

Friends posted support for Cecconi on social media.

Laura Pagliaretta wrote on Twitter: "Get well soon we all pray 4 u."

Lusk man Noel Murphy died in an accident at the Tandragee 100 race in 2014.

The 36-year-old was the second rider from the Co Dublin town to lose his life at the race after Martin Finnegan was killed in 2008.

The Tandragee 100 was the first race on the 2017 Irish National calendar.

Cookstown in Co Tyrone hosts the next meeting this Friday and Saturday before the North West 200 in May.

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