North West 200: Brave Violet sheds a tear watching races for first time since horror crash
An emotional Violet McAfee faced down her demons to watch her first motorbike race at this year's North West 200 - just a few hundred metres from where she was almost killed in an accident in 2015.
The Portrush woman had said that she did not know how she would feel when she actually was watching the bikes speeding past. But after a few tears at first, she said she enjoyed the Thursday evening racing.
Violet (45) was left critically ill last year with head and leg injuries after a racing motorbike crashed at more than 100mph, threw its rider, and catapulted through the air into a driveway where she was watching the action with friends.
Eyewitnesses said it was like a "war zone" with machines, debris and riders scattered along Station Road in Portstewart.
Her leg was shattered in the high-speed collision, and she still has a metal brace attached to it.
The three-bike accident unfolded during the Superstock race. English rider Dean Harrison crashed at 100mph on a stretch of track between York Corner and Mill Road roundabout.
Remarkably, despite being hurled from his bike, he was unhurt. Two racers behind him were also thrown from their machines.
Stephen Thompson from Crumlin, Co Antrim, was seriously hurt, while Horst Saiger from Liechtenstein sustained minor injuries.
On Thursday night she bravely took up position again at York Corner as the races were on and she revealed that, after a shaky start, she then enjoyed herself.
She said: "I did have a wee tear or two when I got there when I saw the practice race at the beginning, but after that it was OK, grand.
"I enjoyed myself, I was great and in that sunshine how could you not?"
She explained she went to York Corner to meet other members of her family as it was easier to get there rather than trying to walk further along the course.
"And the view there is just tremendous," she added.
"The pits, where we did want to go, was just jam-packed, so there was no point in even trying there."
She told how York Corner is at the bottom of the Station Road where the crash happened last year, and recalled how the air ambulance which took her to hospital also took off from York Corner.
She still has no actual memory of the events of 2015, and that even being back at the scene of the accident did not jog her mememory.
She was just "thankful" it hadn't triggered any frightening flashbacks.
Now she is looking forward to going along to the racing tomorrow again.