Racer lucky to be alive after being struck with selfie stick
A superbike racer from Co Londonderry says he is lucky to be alive after being hit by an over-zealous fan's selfie stick as he leaned into a corner at 170mph.
Magherafelt rider Paul Jordan (28) was on the first lap of the MCE Ulster Grand Prix Superstock race on Saturday when the terrifying incident happened.
The spectator was reportedly taken to hospital with a suspected dislocated shoulder.
"If it had have hit me in the face I would be dead," Jordan said.
"I wouldn't have had a chance."
The national and international road racer finished sixth in his first race of the day at the Dundrod circuit near Lisburn, but said the baffling mishap affected his performance.
"I was going through the first right hand corner and I felt a massive bang on my shoulder," he recalled.
"I thought I was bleeding, but wasn't in a position to check - it was only afterwards I realised that my leathers had been ripped clean off my back.
"It definitely took my concentration because I had to keep turning the same corner on subsequent laps and I didn't want to be hit again, but I didn't have a clue what I was trying to avoid."
Jordan, who edged a thrilling Supersport 600 opening race in Armoy at the end of July, was already anxious about getting to grips with his new Dafabet Devitt Racing Kawasaki machine.
He was selected to replace the team's original rider Ivan Lintin who was seriously injured in a four-machine pile-up at the Southern 100 in the Isle of Man last month.
The crash claimed the life of Gortreagh Printing rider James Cowton.
"It's a learning curve - you have to get comfortable on the bike so this was the last thing I needed," Jordan continued.
He has no recollection of seeing the selfie stick responsible, but race organisers said they believe that was the cause of Saturday's incident.
"I saw a spectator and he appeared to be on a ladder at the gate-post of a field on the corner, he was right at the edge hanging over onto the road," he said.
"He must have been taking photos with his phone.
"You can understand people wanting to get close to the action, but you don't expect people to go that far."
In a series of tweets on the Ulster Grand Prix's social media account, officials warned fans of the dangers posed by selfie sticks, drones and flash photography which are all strictly forbidden.
"As Paul Jordan found out earlier, selfie sticks can do a lot of damage," one tweet read.
Jordan, who went on to finish fourth in Saturday's Superbike race, said the "eejit" responsible threatens to ruin the sport for all fans.
"As a rider you are putting everything on the line - I don't need some stupid eejit doing this," he stated.
"They will ruin it for everyone because it will probably result in spectators being pushed even further back, but if they are going to jeopardise our safety then that's probably for the best."
Only three races were able to go ahead on Saturday due to bad weather.
The opening Superstock race was abandoned following a crash which left French rider Fabrice Miguet (49) critically ill.
The Kawasaki/Optrimark team racer, who underwent surgery following the collision, remains in hospital.