Widow of bike ace Martin Finnegan criticises sport's attitude to safety
Top Irish motorcyclist Martin Finnegan was killed in a 100mph crash after his front brake failed because of a loose bolt, a coroner has ruled.
The 29-year-old father of one died at the Tandragee 100 while among the leading racers after his machine flipped on to a bank as he approached a corner.
The Belfast inquest heard the vital part was not tight when the machine was examined following the accident.
Afterwards, his widow claimed racing authorities were not taking safety seriously enough.
"They are treating it like a hobby. If it is a professional sport, it should be treated in a professional way," Brenda Finnegan said.
The rider, from Rhencullen, Main Street, Lusk, near Dublin, was killed in May 2008 when his front brake failed as he approached a sharp bend known as Marlacoo Corner, sending him careering into a grass verge during the Supersport 600 race. Witnesses said they saw him fighting with the bike, which was shaking violently as it approached the bend.
Mr Finnegan, nicknamed 'Flying Finn', was a former Manx Grand Prix winner who had been racing since 1997. He held the record for the fastest speed at the Isle of Man.
Mrs Finnegan said: "I am happy with the outcome, it is the outcome we were looking for and I am glad Martin has been completely exonerated. If the course safety had been different, he could have had a chance of surviving the crash."
Experts at the inquest agreed that in all probability the cause of failure was a loose 'banjo' bolt.
Senior coroner John Leckey said brake failure was the "sole catalyst" for the loss of control.
Martin Finnegan (29) was a Dublin-born motorcycle racer who died at the Tandragee 100 race on May 3, 2008. Nicknamed 'Flying Finn', he was a former Manx Grand Prix winner who had been racing since 1997. A winner of 43 Irish road races, in 2005 he became the fastest Irishman to lap the Isle of Man TT course at over 127 mph.