Belfast Telegraph

Jamie lived more in his 35 years than some who reach 100, says brother of tragic Dundrod rider

By Victoria Leonard

The brother of motorcycle road racer Jamie Hodson who was killed at the Ulster Grand Prix says his sibling was fully aware of the risks of the sport, but that losing him was still the "worst day of his life".

Rob Hodson (29) received minor injuries in the same crash at Dundrod in which his elder brother died last Thursday.

While Rob was quickly discharged from the Royal Victoria Hospital after suffering a bruised ankle and cuts in the incident at the Joey's Windmill section of the circuit, Jamie passed away later that evening.

The Hodson family were expecting Jamie's body to be released for travel from Northern Ireland to England yesterday, and his funeral will take place on Wednesday, August 23 at Holy Trinity Church in Ashton-in-Makerfield.

His remains will then be taken to St Helens Crematorium.

Rob recalled: "On the day of the race conditions were brilliant.

"We did the compulsory practice laps for beginners as it was our first Ulster Grand Prix, and after that Jamie was buzzing.

"We had been going round together, having good fun overtaking each other and it felt like it used to when we first started racing. We had no concerns about the safety of the circuit.

"Jamie was passionate about racing and had come back from holiday early so that he could take part.

"When the accident happened we were on the third or fourth lap, there was a group of us together and I can't say what happened in that moment.

"I remember losing control and tumbling along - I didn't see what had happened to Jamie at first.

"The aftermath was terrible, it's not something that I would like to see again. Jamie took the force of the injury.

"After the accident the medical team was working on him, so as much as I wanted to get beside him I stepped aside and let them work.

"I had a feeling about how serious it was. I could see he wasn't moving, and they had put up a sheet to stop people watching.

"It was so hard to see my big brother in that situation.

"One minute we had been having the time of our life, the next I was watching this unfold. It's something I can't take in."

Jamie, who was an experienced racer and the reigning Manx Supertwin champion, was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

"The doctor came and saw us and explained what his injuries were," Rob explained.

"He had multiple injuries to his head and stuff like that. They told us to prepare for the worst. There was me, my dad Jim, my girlfriend and Phil the mechanic. My mum couldn't make it to the Ulster Grand Prix as she was working. We pretty much knew what was happening and we just wanted to spend every second with him. We each said our bit and stayed with him as long as we could.

"It was probably about four hours until he passed away. It was very, very hard, just a shock.

"It was definitely the hardest day I've ever had, the worst day of my life.

"The only positive that I can take from it is that we were there with him."

Rob says that the family, who race under the team name JGH Racing, have received overwhelming support from the motorcycling community.

"Since it happened we have had a lot of cards, flowers and visitors and it has been good to share memories," he revealed.

"Jamie was a really nice lad and no one has anything bad to say. He was quiet and never wanted a fuss around him or to be the centre of attention, but he had a good sense of humour.

"We had a real laugh together and he was one of the few people who I could look at and he just knew what I was thinking.

"When I was younger I idolised him, and it was probably seeing the fun that he and my dad had racing that led me into it as well."

Rob and his father are now considering whether to get back on their motorbikes in light of the tragedy.

"My dad and I are undecided over whether to carry on racing competitively," he admitted.

"I will decide after my injuries have healed and after the funeral. Jamie and I were fully aware of the risks, but you never think it will happen to you or to anyone you know, and unfortunately it does.

"Jamie was young and had his whole life ahead of him.

"You will always get people saying that racing is dangerous, but Jamie lived more in his 35 years than some people who lived to 100.

"People can get injured in any sport and they are still going to do it.

"It's a passion and you have to let them carry on and do it."

Rob also passed on his thanks to everyone who assisted Jamie and the family.

"I would like to thank the race marshal, the medics and hospital staff - they all did everything they could," he added.

"I would also like to thank all of Jamie's friends and sponsors, they have all been really supportive at this difficult time."

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