Belfast Telegraph

Easton hangs up the leathers after a successful career

By Paul Lindsay

Stuart Easton, who won two British championship and four Macau Grand Prix titles during a career that spanned almost two decades, has announced his retirement from competition with immediate effect.

The 33-year-old from Hawick won his second British Supersport title back in 2013 with local team Mar-Train Racing - who ironically announced their retirement from all competition just last week - a feat he said yesterday was one of his finest in racing.

"Winning the second Supersport championship with Mar-Train after being badly injured was a big high," said Easton, who almost lost his life in an incident at the North West 200 in 2011.

"I was pleased to be able to come back and race hard for that championship in 2013 with Mar-Train.

"I even showed some good form in Superbikes too. That was a season that I really did enjoy and it stands out a lot for me."

Speaking of his NW200 crash, where he collided with his team-mate Gary Mason, Easton said: "I was pretty proud to come back from the North West 200 crash in 2011.

"I was on a ventilator, had to have blood transfusions and other live-saving stuff. I was two-thirds dead, or not far off."

But a crash last year on the track brought thoughts of retirement into sharper focus.

"When I had brake failure at Brands Hatch on the PBM bike, that made me think even more than the first big accident," he revealed.

"Finlay, my six-year-old, was watching and he said to my wife Claire after seeing me in the air and the bike flying into the trees, 'Is my dad going to die?'"

Further explaining his decision, he said candidly: "There were a couple of close ones. I suppose it doesn't happen to everyone but it made me think. And if you're thinking about hurting yourself, it's time to hang up the leathers.

"Some riders do carry on. We are a selfish breed and I have been selfish for a long time.

"I have had a great time racing, there have been lots of highs, lots of lows. I had a hell of a lot of injuries but it has been a good time."

Easton has taken part in 260 British Championship races, winning 28, as well as taking four Macau GP wins and still holds the lap record on the Far Eastern Armco-lined Guia circuit.

"It's been a hell of a journey," he concluded.

Easton will now take the reins in the family car business.

He will be sorely missed from the racing paddocks. We wish him well.

Belfast Telegraph

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