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North West 200: Teenage marshal to take his spot at University Corner in memory of dad

Youngster continues family tradition after father was killed in tragic accident last year

By Nevin Farrell

Published 14/05/2016

Lewis Anderson, who will be a marshal in memory of late father David
Lewis Anderson, who will be a marshal in memory of late father David
David Anderson with long-term partner Debbie McGraw

One of the youngest safety marshals at this year's North West 200 has told how he hopes his late dad would be proud of him for keeping up the family tradition of ensuring spectators stay safe at the huge sporting event.

Lewis Anderson (16) from Coleraine will be back at University Corner on the course today at the same spot where his father David was a marshal.

Mr Anderson was tragically killed in a collision near Belfast while out for a leisure run with friends on Easter Sunday last year.

Lewis has revealed he will be taking a break from preparing for his GCSEs to ensure his dad's memory and the family name live on at University Corner.

"I was marshalling at it on Thursday," Lewis said. "It went really well, although it is not the same without my dad there.

"This year there were a lot of people there because it was the first year we had a good bit of weather for it.

"I used to go to the North West with my dad all the time. He got me interested in the NW200 because from such a young age he always took me down to the paddock and to the bikes, and whenever I was a responsible enough age he took me down to the marshalling.

"This is my third year doing it and I wanted to continue in memory of my dad. I hope he would be proud of me.

He added: "I am enjoying it as much as I can without having my dad there. One of the reasons I am doing it is because I love bikes, but the other reason is because University Corner was my dad's corner."

Lewis said he is one of several marshals at University Corner where they have to deal with any emergencies.

They also monitor the closure and opening of the road after every practice and every race and ensure that spectators do not try to cross the road until it safe to do so.

Lewis said he had a 125 RS Honda race bike but when his dad passed away he decided to sell it and save the money for a car, "and now I can say my dad basically helped me out with that".

Watching the races, he said his hero is Ballymoney rider Michael Dunlop and said it would be a dream come true for him if he was ever able to take part in the NW200 himself as a racer, as it is his local course.

Lewis is a pupil at Dunluce School in Bushmills and is preparing for his GCSEs this summer. He would like to go to the Northern Regional College in Ballymena to study auto engineering, and then go on to university.

But in the meantime there is only one thing on his mind - being a marshal at the course on Saturday in memory of his dad.

David (42) died last year while out with friends for a run on their motorbikes.

He was buried in racing leathers and hundreds of bikers took part in a cavalcade from his home at Ashbourne Park in Coleraine during his funeral. The motorbike-loving dad-of-two and his friends had gone out on Easter Sunday to visit the public roads which double up as the course of the Ulster Grand Prix races near Belfast. An inquest recently found that Mr Anderson's bike slid on loose stones as he went round a bend at Tornagrough Road in Hannahstown.

Both his motorbike and Mr Anderson hit a fence and he tragically died at the scene from chest injuries.

Mr Anderson's partner Debbie McGraw (42) said recently: "David loved motorbikes. Bikes were in his blood.

"He was in the North West 200 supporters club. He did the marshalling at University Corner every year without fail.

"Lewis has now taken over the role and he stands down there. That was 'his corner', and now Lewis has stood in and he loves it."

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