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Bike racer Young 'killed hitting bale'

A Northern Ireland motorcycle racer died after hitting a safety bale which flung him into a field, an inquest has heard.

Mark Young, 22, from Cookstown, was sent cartwheeling and probably unconscious off the track at around 130mph at the opening race of the North West 200.

He suffered a traumatic head injury after he was went careering off the circuit, hit a grass verge and bale then fell into a field.

Detective Constable Philip Rodgers was watching the race nearby and said the hay barrier did not give way when the victim hit it.

"It was the impact with that which caused him from going in a controlled manner trying to stop himself to suddenly unconscious and out of control," he told Belfast Coroner's Court.

He added that the rider held his arms out and head off the ground trying to stabilise himself as he skidded from the bike until after he hit the grass verge and bale. "His arms and legs (were) just quickly flying all over the place, going into a cartwheel," he recalled.

Mr Young, an engineer from Milburn Park in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, was on a Honda 250 and was on the first lap of the first race of the day in May last year on the north coast near Portrush. He was at the front of a second group of riders and was around 30th overall when he spilled off.

Mr Rodgers added he hit the bale with his upper back or lower head. There was conflicting evidence from two policemen about whether the stake which the bale was attached to had been knocked out of the ground and it was unclear how big the wooden pole was.

The section of the track where it happened, Mather's Cross, has been changed from a high speed bend to a relatively slow chicane. That is where racing legend Robert Dunlop was killed the previous year.

The inquest was adjourned for further legal consultations.


From Belfast Telegraph