Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Racing in shock at Martin's death

Martin Finnegan's death has caused a cloud to hover over the North West 200 in a fortnight's time.

This is the view of Mervyn Whyte, clerk of the course at the big race in Portstewart after he had heard of the death of the likeable Dubliner in a crash at the Tandragee 100 on Saturday.

Finnegan, who was 29-years old, died when his machine went out of control and hit a grass bank while he was disputing the lead in the 600cc race. Finnegan was catapulted 30 feet into the air and died instantly.

Whyte said: "Motorcycling is a dangerous sport but at this time no one seems to know what caused the crash. Finnegan was an experienced rider and would have been the big name at the North West 200. I can only say how sorry we feel at his death."

Ironically, Finnegan won the first race of the day at Tandragee which was the Open Class which he took by a 700th of a second from his old rival Ryan Farquhar. And it was Farquhar who had the best view of all when it came to describing what happened to Finnegan on the fatal second lap of the 600cc class.

Farquhar said: "Black smoke was coming from out of the back wheel and I knew there was something wrong with Finnegan's bike. He seemed unable to regain control and was catapulted into the air. It was the worst crash I've ever seen."

Three spectators were also injured in the incident but thankfully none seriously.

As for the promoters of the meeting the North Armagh club they issued a statement which read: "The meeting has now been abandoned and we will be making every effort to co-operate with the police in order to discover what happened to Finnegan."

Tony Harvey incident officer for the motorcycle union of Ireland said: "Of course we will be looking into the nuts and bolts of what happened. Motorcycling is dangerous by its very nature but we are mystified how a rider of Finnegan's ability should have been involved in this type of incident. It would appear that something has happened to the machine but we will look into that and deal with all aspects of the case."

Last year John Donnan was killed in an incident near the newly built chicane.

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