Belfast Telegraph

Poignant farewell lap of honour for Dario Cecconi killed in Tandragee race crash

By David Young

Chequered flags fluttered at Tandragee last night as tragic motorcycle racer Dario Cecconi completed his last circuit of the course he called home.

Friends and mourners turned out in their hundreds to take part in a moving farewell lap of honour for the Italian racer (inset), who died from injuries sustained during a crash on his final lap of the Tandragee 100 course.

His brother Luca and partner Francesca Benvenuti travelled to be at the injured racer's hospital bedside before he passed away.

Last night Anne Forsythe, clerk of the course and honorary secretary of the North Armagh Motorcycle & Car Club, said Dario's family had been "blown away" by the love and respect they had been shown.

"It was very difficult for them, but they very much appreciated how the crowd had been respectful of their feelings as they came to the spot where the incident happened," she said.

"Everyone stayed well back, allowing Luca and Francesca the space to feel able to get out of their car and mark the moment, before going on.

"We had the chequered flags waving, because that was Dario finishing his final lap - the lap he was on when he crashed. He finished his race."

Anne, who was with Francesca and Luca when they stopped at the spot of the crash, said the heartbroken brother kept repeating "amazing, amazing" in response to the show of respect to the rider. She added: "They could feel the love. They could definitely feel the love. It was a fitting tribute to a lovely, lovely bloke."

She thanked everyone who had turned out to honour the racer's memory.

"They did Dario proud, they did the club proud, and they did their sport proud," said Anne.

A crowd-funding page set up to help the family had raised more than £4,500 of its £5,000 target last night. Organiser David McWaters posted: "Dario's family are overwhelmed by the support and they have asked that the money raised be donated to the Injured Riders Welfare Fund."

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