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Races must go on, says family of tragic biker killed in crash

A 27-year-old motorcyclist from Northern Ireland has died in Co Meath following a crash during a practice session for a popular road race.

Father-of-three Stephen Larkin, from Gilford, Co Down, had been practising at the Kells Road Races when the crash happened about 5.20pm on Saturday.

The accident occurred during the practice session for the 401-750cc support race on the Crossakiel circuit.

Mr Larkin, who worked as a mechanic, was taken to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where he died later from his injuries.

Despite the tragedy his family insisted the races should continue as “it is what Stephen would have wanted”.

Aileen Ferguson, secretary of the Kells Motorcycle Racing Club (MCRC), said: “His wife Catherine, father Gerry and brother Michael stated that it is what Stephen would have wanted, he loved the racing,” she said.

“The family have asked me to pass on their good wishes to all competitors and they hope that the racing goes well.”

She added that the rider’s brother Michael intended to be at the Kells races yesterday.

“Kells MCRC would like to express their sympathy to all the Larkin family and to all Stephen's many friends,” she said.

A collection was held at the track yesterday for the rider’s family.

The Larkin family issued a statement yesterday calling for privacy at this “very painful and sad time”.

“Stephen's wife Catherine, his children Aaron, Megan and Callum, father Gerald, mother Bernadette, brother Michael, sister Martina and the entire family circle are shocked and devastated by the tragic and untimely death of Stephen,” it said.

Mr Larkin worked as a mechanic at Agnew's Audi centre in Portadown, Co Armagh.

He had just won his first motor bike race at the Bush Road Races in Co Tyrone four weeks ago.

It is the second death in two years at the Kells race meeting.

Last July Padraig Campbell (32) died during a practice session at the meeting.

His death was the first in the 15-year history of the Crossakiel event.

Stephen's funeral will take place on Wednesday at noon in the Church of St John the Evangelist, Gilford.

The burial after the Mass will take place in St Patrick and St. Colman’s Cemetery in Laurencetown.

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