Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Race fan Violet back at North West 200 year after horror crash almost took her life

By Nevin Farrell

Published 12/05/2016

The crash that left Violet McAfee hospitalised
The crash that left Violet McAfee hospitalised
The scene of the crash
Mrs McFee recuperating from her injuries
Violet McAfee
Violet McAfee in her hospital bed after being injured in the accident
Violet McAfee

Brave Violet McAfee, who cheated death after a crash at last year's North West 200, has returned to the event as she eases herself back into watching the sport she loves so dearly.

On a visit to the pits area to pick up VIP tickets for the main day of action, given to her by the organisers of the event, the 45-year-old Portrush woman revealed she had suffered a setback in her recovery and would need a bone graft but was still determined to keep her spirits up.

Following a hospital appointment in Belfast earlier this week, she went to the course after the riders had finished for the day and felt comfortable enough to pose for a photo on a motorbike.

Violet has no memory of the accident, but she fears that the high-octane sights and sounds could trigger flashbacks.

The racing fan, who still has a metal brace attached to the leg shattered in the incident, was left critically ill after a machine crashed at 100mph, flew into the air and struck her.

The accident saw English rider Dean Harrison come off between York Corner and Mill Road roundabout, only to escape unhurt. Two racers behind him were also thrown off. Stephen Thompson from Crumlin was badly hurt and later lost an arm, while Horst Saiger from Liechtenstein suffered minor injuries.

When Violet returned to the scene last month she said she wanted to attend the race but would not make a decision until the last minute. She has now decided to go with twin sister Elizabeth.

"I was up at Musgrave Hospital and practice is over, so I didn't get down to see how I would feel at the races themselves, but it is grand here," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"On Thursday my sister and I are planning to come down when the bikes are racing and see how it goes. If I'm not enjoying it I'll go, and the same on Saturday.

"The bone graft will be done on May 31 and hopefully there will be a full recovery after that and I will get the cage off. It is a setback, but not a horrific one."

Press Eye Northern Ireland - Thursday May 12 2016
North West 200 International Road Races Vauxhall Supertwin Race Mandatory credit - Pic by John McIlwaine Press Eye
Daniel Cooper leads Ryan Farquahar on lap two of the red flagged Supertwin Race
Press Eye Northern Ireland - Thursday May 12 2016 North West 200 International Road Races Vauxhall Supertwin Race Mandatory credit - Pic by John McIlwaine Press Eye Daniel Cooper leads Ryan Farquahar on lap two of the red flagged Supertwin Race
Alastair Seeley celebrates winning the opening Supersport race during Thurday's Supersport race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200. Christian Elkin makes his way over Primrose Hill during the Supertwins. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200. Following a red flag during the Supertwin race, fire crews were called to Station Corner to deal with the incident. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200. Ryan Farquhar lead at the start of lap 3 of the Supertwins race. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200. Martin Jessopp pictured at Primrose Hill during the Supertwins. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2016 Alastair Seeley celebrates winning the opening Supersport race this evening with Ian Hutchinson 2nd and Martin jessops third during this evenings Supersport race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International 2016 North West 200. Thursday racing. Race two. VAUXHALL Supertwin Race. Some seen from the paddock area as the race is red flagged due to a a fire close to the track. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International 2016 North West 200. Thursday racing. Race one. Actavo Events Supersport Race. Alastair Seeley wins with Ian Hutchinson in second and Martin Jessop in third. Alastair Seeley pictured with his girlfriend Danny Henry after winning is 16th race at the North West which has outdone the previous record held by Robert Dunlop. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 12/5/2016: Alastair Seeley's girlfriend, Danni had a nail biting time as she watched the last lap of the Supersport race with her boyfriend on his way to becoming the most successful North West 200 racer of al-time by taking his 16th win. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International 2016 North West 200. Thursday racing. Race one. Actavo Events Supersport Race. Alastair Seeley wins with Ian Hutchinson in second and Martin Jessop in third. Alastair Seeley pictured after winning is 16th race at the North West which has outdone the previous record held by Robert Dunlop. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International 2016 North West 200. Thursday racing. Race one. Actavo Events Supersport Race. Alastair Seeley wins with Ian Hutchinson in second and Martin Jessop in third. Alastair Seeley pictured after winning is 16th race at the North West which has outdone the previous record held by Robert Dunlop. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
DAVE KNEEN/PACEMAKER PRESS, BELFAST: 12/05/2016: Alastair Seeley leads the start of the opening Supersport race at the North West 200.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International 2016 North West 200. Thursday racing. Race one. Actavo Events Supersport Race. Alastair Seeley wins with Ian Hutchinson in second and Martin Jessop in third. Alastair Seeley(centre) pictured after winning is 16th race at the North West which has outdone the previous record held by Robert Dunlop. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland -12/05/2016. Picture by Dessie Loughery International North West 200 Supersport Race John McGuinness (Jackson Honda Racing Honda )
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/05/2016 Alastair Seeley celebrates winning the opening Supersport race during this evenings Supersport race at the North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Ian Hutchinson CameBPT Yamaha R6 leads William Dunlop over Black's Hill during Thursday's nights Actavo Events Supersport Race at the Vauxhall International North West 200 around the 'Triangle' circuit. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Alastair Seeley Gearlink Kawasaki leads Lee Johnston ECC/Burdens Triumph over Black's Hill during Thursday's nights Actavo Events Supersport Race at the Vauxhall International North West 200 around the 'Triangle' circuit. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Sailing to the International North West 200 with P&O Ferries - motorbike fans from across the UK and Europe arriving at Larne. Hundreds of motorbike enthusiasts are expected to make the journey over the next couple of days. May 2016
The biggest concentration of bikers have arrived in Belfast today, Thursday 12 May, when approximately 150 motorcyclists will start their engines and stream off the Stena Line, Cairnryan to Belfast service, forming a massive convoy to make their way to the North West 200 May 12, 2016 Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
The biggest concentration of bikers have arrived in Belfast today, Thursday 12 May, when approximately 150 motorcyclists will start their engines and stream off the Stena Line, Cairnryan to Belfast service, forming a massive convoy to make their way to the North West 200 May 12, 2016 Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
The biggest concentration of bikers have arrived in Belfast today, Thursday 12 May, when approximately 150 motorcyclists will start their engines and stream off the Stena Line, Cairnryan to Belfast service, forming a massive convoy to make their way to the North West 200 May 12, 2016 Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
The biggest concentration of bikers have arrived in Belfast today, Thursday 12 May, when approximately 150 motorcyclists will start their engines and stream off the Stena Line, Cairnryan to Belfast service, forming a massive convoy to make their way to the North West 200 May 12, 2016 Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
The biggest concentration of bikers have arrived in Belfast today, Thursday 12 May, when approximately 150 motorcyclists will start their engines and stream off the Stena Line, Cairnryan to Belfast service, forming a massive convoy to make their way to the North West 200 May 12, 2016 Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
The biggest concentration of bikers have arrived in Belfast today, Thursday 12 May, when approximately 150 motorcyclists will start their engines and stream off the Stena Line, Cairnryan to Belfast service, forming a massive convoy to make their way to the North West 200 May 12, 2016 Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
The biggest concentration of bikers have arrived in Belfast today, Thursday 12 May, when approximately 150 motorcyclists will start their engines and stream off the Stena Line, Cairnryan to Belfast service, forming a massive convoy to make their way to the North West 200 May 12, 2016 Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
The biggest concentration of bikers have arrived in Belfast today, Thursday 12 May, when approximately 150 motorcyclists will start their engines and stream off the Stena Line, Cairnryan to Belfast service, forming a massive convoy to make their way to the North West 200 May 12, 2016 Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
The biggest concentration of bikers have arrived in Belfast today, Thursday 12 May, when approximately 150 motorcyclists will start their engines and stream off the Stena Line, Cairnryan to Belfast service, forming a massive convoy to make their way to the North West 200 May 12, 2016 Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye )
Miss North West 200 Chloe McMaster wins the competition in the paddock on Tuesday evening. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
Sailing to the International North West 200 with P&O Ferries - motorbike fans from across the UK and Europe arriving at Larne. Hundreds of motorbike enthusiasts are expected to make the journey over the next couple of days. May 2016
Vauxhall International North West 200. Danny Webb.
Chloe McMaster named Miss North West 200 for 2016.
Vauxhall International North West 200. Maria Costello on the grid along with her team.
Chloe McMaster named Miss North West 200 for 2016.
Ryan Farquhar.
Chloe McMaster named Miss North West 200 for 2016.
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200. Michael Sweeney. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200. Maria Costello on the grid along with her team. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland -12/05/2016. Picture by Dessie Loughery International North West 200 Superstock Race Michael Dunlop (BMW )
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200. Maria Costello. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 12th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Ryan Farquhar SGS/IEG/KMR Kawasaki at Church Corner during Thursday's Supertwin practice at the Vauxhall International North West 200 around the 'Triangle' circuit. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200. Michael Rutter in the Superstock practice at York Corner on Thursday morning. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200. Donald Macfadyen in the Superstock practice at York Corner on Thursday morning. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 12/5/2016: NI Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and North Antrim MP Ian Paisley is shown round the Control Room of the Vauxhall International North West 200 by Event Director Mervyn Whyte during her visit to the race at Portrush today. Also included are John and Valerie Creighton and their daughter Rhonda who man the radios. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 12th May 2016 ** NO IMAGE FEE ** Vauxhall International North West 200. Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers visits the famous North West 200 course between Portrush and Portstewart and is given a tour of the grid by race director Mervyn Whyte. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Honda road races John McGuinness and Conor Cummins enjoy a day off at the North West 200 by taking at trip to the Giants Causeway.
Miss North West 200 Chloe McMaster is congratulated by third placed Hollie Hanson and runner up Shannon Henry after the competition in the paddock on Tuesday evening. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland -10/05/2016. Picture by Dessie Loughery International North West 200 Supertwin Race Jeremy McWilliams (SGS/IEG/KMR Kawasaki )
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 10th May 2016 Vauxhall International North West 200 Jill McWilliams along with her husband Jeremy McWilliams who is racing. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Michael Rutter (Bathams/SMT Racing BMW ) during today's practices for the Vauxhall International North West 200, in Coleraine. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Michael Dunlop (BMW ) during practice race for the Vauxhall International North West 200, in Coleraine. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Michael Dunlop is all smiles after setting fattest Superbike time during the opening practice session for the Vauxhall International North West 200. Picture by Stephen Davison
William Dunlop on the grid during the opening practice session for the Vauxhall International North West 200 today. Picture by Stephen Davison
Ben Wilson ready for the off at the opening practice session for the Vauxhall International North West 200 grid. Picture by Stephen Davison
Hector Neill looks over the grid. Vauxhall International North West 200.
Chloe McMaster named Miss North West 200 for 2016.
Vauxhall International North West 200. Philip Neill
Ian Hutchinson makes his way through the paddock.
Vauxhall International North West 200. Ryan Farquhar.
North West 200 2016 Bruce Anstey
Vauxhall International North West 200. Ian Hutchinson makes his way to the grid.
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. William Dunlop. Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 10th May 2016 Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. William Dunlop. Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 10th May 2016 Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
North West 200 2016 Practice has begun at the Vauxhall International North West 200 around the high speed Triangle circuit. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Vauxhall International North West 200. Michael Dunlop. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. Danni Henry finance of Alastair Seeley. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 10th May 2016
North West 200 2016 Practice has begun at the Vauxhall International North West 200 around the high speed Triangle circuit. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. Conor Cummins Honda Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 10-5-16 Vauxhall International North West 200 - 2016 Alastair Seeley (Gearlink Kawasaki Kawasaki )during today's practices for the Vauxhall International North West 200, in Coleraine. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. Danni Henry along with finance Alastair Seeley. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 10-5-16 Vauxhall International North West 200 - 2016 Alastair Seeley (Gearlink Kawasaki Kawasaki )during today's practices for the Vauxhall International North West 200, in Coleraine. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. Jamie Hamilton. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 10-5-16 Vauxhall International North West 200 - 2016 Lee Johnston (East Coast Construction/Burdens Triumph ) during today's practices for the Vauxhall International North West 200, in Coleraine. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. Lee Johnston. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 10-5-16 Vauxhall International North West 200 - 2016 Lee Johnston (East Coast Construction/Burdens Triumph ) during today's practices for the Vauxhall International North West 200, in Coleraine. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. John McGuinness. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. Jeremy McWilliams and Michael Rutter. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 10-5-16 Vauxhall International North West 200 - 2016 James Hillier (Quattro Plant Muc-off Kawasaki Kawasaki ) during today's practices for the Vauxhall International North West 200, in Coleraine. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. John McGuinness Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 10-5-16 Vauxhall International North West 200 - 2016 Ian Hutchinson (Came BPT Yamaha Yamaha )during today's practices for the Vauxhall International North West 200, in Coleraine. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 10-5-16 Vauxhall International North West 200 - 2016 John McGuinness (Jackson Honda Racing Honda ) during today's practices for the Vauxhall International North West 200, in Coleraine. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Vauxhall International North West 200. Malachi Mitchell-Thomas. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. Danni Henry along with finance Alastair Seeley. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 10-5-16 Vauxhall International North West 200 - 2016 William Dunlop (CD/IC Racing/Caffrey International Yamaha ) during today's practices for the Vauxhall International North West 200, in Coleraine. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Vauxhall International North West 200 Tuesday practice gets under way. John McGuinness. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 10-5-16 Vauxhall International North West 200 - 2016 Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki ) during today's practices for the Vauxhall International North West 200, in Coleraine. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

The racing fan also revealed she hoped to meet up with Saiger, and expressed sympathy for Thompson, who will not make the event. "He has a lot of healing to do yet," she said.

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph