Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Rally: racing world mourns Fermanagh driver killed in crash as injured co-driver airlifted to hospital

By Michelle Smyth

A talented young Fermanagh driver has been killed at the annual Todds Leap Ulster Rally.

Timothy Cathcart (20) died yesterday afternoon after losing control of his Citroen DS3 rally car.

His Welsh co-driver Dai Roberts was seriously injured.

The fatal accident occurred towards the end of Special Stage three near Kell Road between Clogher and Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone.

The Special Stages are particularly challenging parts of the rally that take place on roads closed to the public.

Police have confirmed that a PSNI helicopter was used to airlift Mr Roberts to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where his condition has been described as serious. There were no other parties involved.

The rest of the two-day event has been cancelled as a mark of respect and an investigation is under way.

In a statement, the Northern Ireland Motor Club extended its "sympathy to the family and friends" of Mr Cathcart.

The student, who was competing in his second season, has been described as one of the "rising" stars of the rally world who showed "real promise".

The Belfast Telegraph's motorsport reporter Sammy Hamill, who was at the event, added: "Timmy comes from a well-known Fermanagh family and his father and uncle are ex-rally drivers who have passed a love of the sport on to him.

"His cousins also compete – it is a real family tradition.

"He had his first season last year and competed in the British Championship.

"He was excited to be competing on home turf this year.

"Accidents do happen but fatalities are very rare because the cars are strong and offer protection.

"It is a big shock for this to happen to a competitor.

"He would have to have hit something hard for this to have happened.

"His family were in total shock and upset in the service area. My thoughts are with them."

Mr Hamill revealed that Dai Roberts lost a brother, Gareth, in a 2012 rally driving accident in Italy.

He was the co-driver for leading Irish rally driver Craig Breen who was unhurt in the accident.

Rally fans took to Twitter and Facebook last night to share their shock at the news and pass on their condolences.

Davy Evans posted: "Once again motorsport teaches us that its thrill and appeal comes at the risk of the ultimate sacrifice. RIP."

Gemma Kerley wrote: "Another very sad day for motorsport... becoming way too commonplace this news. Thoughts are with all involved. May he RIP."

Pirelli RBF Rally tweeted: "Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the competitor and everyone involved with the Ulster rally. Another sad day."

Matthew McMahon tweeted: "Sport can be really cruel sometimes. RIP to the competitor involved in today's fatal accident."

Some of the tributes on Mr Cathcart's Facebook page include: "RIP Timmy Cathcart. I can't believe the news I just heard. It's true when people say God only takes the best of people. You were such a lovely boy. Thoughts and prayers are with the Cathcart family at this tragic time," and "Just found out the heartbreaking news. You were a living legend Timmy Cathcart. I'll never forget the Portora days. Sleep tight brother."

The fatal accident comes just a day after French motorcyclist Pierre Favre was seriously injured at the Dundrod 150 races.

Fatalities now rare following advances in safety

Jennings leads the tributes to young driver as cars go silent 

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