Belfast Telegraph

Family thanks those who battled to save North West 200 crash biker Mark Buckley

By Lindsay Fergus

The devastated family of road racer Mark Buckley, who was killed at the North West 200, has paid tribute to all those who battled to save his life.

The 35-year-old father-of-four died in hospital on Saturday afternoon following a crash at York Corner, Portstewart, while racing on the last day of the annual event.

In a statement his father Jimmy and widow Jayne thanked everyone who had tried to save him after the horrific crash.

“We want to thank Mervyn (Whyte, race director) and all the organising team of the North West 200.

“We would also like to thank the medics, emergency services, course marshals, doctors and hospital staff,” the statement said.

The Buckley family also praised Coleraine-based Nutt Travel for helping them to make the arrangements to return the racer’s remains to his native Scotland on Monday. They described him as “an established international road racer who was well respected”.

Buckley’s racing highlights included finishing eighth in the Isle of Man TT, second in the Manx Grand Prix and a win in the Scottish Championships on a 675 Triumph — the first for Triumph in years, his loved ones explained.

Peter Sutherland, a close family friend and sponsor, described Buckley as “an absolute gem of a person”. Speaking from Coleraine on Monday, he said: “You could not meet anyone nicer. Nobody had a bad word to say about Mark. He lived for his family, his friends and his racing.

“As a racer he was very professional, meticulous in the preparation of his equipment and very focused, determined to win.”

Buckley had been due to travel from the North West to the Isle of Man for the TT races.

Mr Sutherland said: “The North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT were the highlights of his season. Racing was an interest he held from childhood and his father was very instrumental in developing Mark’s career.”

Buckley, who had his own racing team, had recently joined Splitlath Redmond.

“This was the first time he had the backing to step up a gear and was really focused. His main ambition was to have a TT win”.

Details of the funeral arrangements have not been finalised but it is expected to be later this week.

Belfast Telegraph

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