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Reunited... biker and fan who narrowly escaped death in horror crash at North West 200

By Lesley Houston

Published 05/09/2015

Violet McFee with road racer Horst Saiger yesterday
Violet McFee with road racer Horst Saiger yesterday
Mrs McFee recuperating from her injuries
Mrs McFee recuperating from her injuries

A Northern Ireland woman has come face-to-face with the motorcyclist whose bike injured her in a freak accident at this year's North West 200.

Violet McFee was yesterday "overwhelmed" after meeting Austrian rider Horst Saiger and her embrace showed him she held no grudge following the horror crash in May.

A special reception was held in honour of the Portrush woman and Austrian rider Saiger whose Kawasaki collided with her in the horrific 130mph smash as she stood in a garden enjoying the Superstock race.

The 44-year-old suffered head injuries and a serious leg injury and still walks with a crutch while Saiger suffered a broken elbow in the incident which took place on the Station Road in Portstewart.

Meeting for the first time since the crash - of which Violet has no memory - she admitted she was very moved by the occasion.

"I am overwhelmed," she said.

"It is great to meet Horst for the first time and to have him here today."

Saiger, who came to Northern Ireland solely to meet her, was able to tell her personally how much he had been affected by the crash. "The worst thing was not my injuries but when I heard that Violet had been hit by my bike," he said.

"I was very worried but it was one of the best days of my life when I heard that she was going to be OK.

"She is so positive and she says she is going to come and watch us racing again."

The crash at the NW200
The crash at the NW200

He marked the occasion by presenting her with one of his racing helmets.

Mrs McAfee still has a special brace on her injured left leg which suffered a compound fracture in the crash.

"It will probably be on until Christmas but I expect to make a complete recovery," she said.

And she restated her intent to return to next year's races.

"I think I will be back at next year's races. After all I have been going to the North West since I was a teenager," she said.

Violet also expressed her thoughts for Northern Ireland racer Stephen Thompson who suffered very extensive injuries in the same accident.

"I really want to meet Stephen again," she said.

"I saw him briefly in hospital and I know that he is going through so much."

The 39-year-old racer from Crumlin had to have his lower left arm amputated in July following complications from the severe injuries he sustained in the high-speed crash.

The courageous Portrush woman also paid tribute to the late Dr John Hinds, the travelling doctor who lost his life in a crash at the Skerries road races just a month after the North West.

"Dr John was one of the first people on the scene to treat me," she said.

"He loved his job and was so passionate about it.

"He will be very sorely missed and I have a lot to thank him for. I am so sorry that I never got the chance to do that."

North West event director Mervyn Whyte, who also attended the reception, described Violet as a "very brave woman".

Earlier he and Saiger revisited the scene of the crash to discuss safety issues.

Belfast Telegraph

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