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Tributes to bike ace Philip Wylie who died in hospital three weeks after Nutts Corner crash

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Philip Wylie died last week

Philip Wylie died last week

Philip Wylie with road racing hero William Dunlop

Philip Wylie with road racing hero William Dunlop

Philip Wylie died last week

Tributes have been paid to a former Irish Supermoto Champion who passed away after a racing accident.

Philip Wylie (49) was injured in an accident during the fourth round of the Supermoto Championship at Nutts Corner last month.

He passed away in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital last Wednesday.

Committee member at Supermoto NI Colin McKee described the father-of-two as an experienced racer, and said everyone in the Supermoto community was reeling from the news.

"I have known and raced with Philip over the last 20 years, and we're all absolutely devastated by what's happened," Mr McKee said.

"Philip was very experienced, he was one of the top men we had. He took a lot to do with pushing the sport and he would come along to the committee meetings. He was just a great guy and he'll be very much missed."

Mr McKee explained he and others at Supermoto NI had hoped Mr Wylie, from Islandmagee, Co Antrim, would survive after the accident on February 16.

"We feared he might not be able to race again, but we were very hopeful he'd pull through," he added.

"So when we heard that he had passed away it was such a shock.

"Everyone is devastated, because he was a great guy.

"He really was the nicest person you could ever meet. He would have done anything for any rider in the paddock, and he helped so many riders with advice.

"Philip was a great ambassador for Supermoto over the years and it's a big loss for the sport. I send my deepest condolences to all the family."

Mr Wylie, who had previously won the David Jefferies Trophy, leaves behind a wife and two children.

Rev Peter Bovill, minister at First and Second Islandmagee Presbyterian Church, said Mr Wylie was a "dear friend to many".

"We were a community in shock following the tragic motorbike accident of three weeks ago and are now deeply saddened by Philip's death," he said.

"Philip was a well-known and much-loved part of our local community and our hearts break for his wife, children and family circle.

"Motorbikes had always been a much-loved hobby, along with playing badminton.

"Having played in Islandmagee he most recently was a valued club member in Whitehead Presbyterian Badminton Club and is remembered as a true gentlemen and dear friend to many.

"He will be remembered as a husband and father devoted to his family and for his smile as big as his heart."

Dozens of tributes were also posted online.

One message on the Supermoto NI Facebook page said: "Terrible news, was always friendly and smiling any time I met him, a true gentleman and a great example of a true sportsman, mostly a tragic loss to his family and friends. My thoughts, prayers and sincere condolences to them at this sad time."

Another said: "He was without doubt just one of life's lovely people and a great motorcycling competitor. My thoughts and prayers are with Philip's family and friends at this terribly sad and difficult time for them all."

Whitehead Presbyterian Badminton Club offered its sympathies. A message posted on Facebook said: "Everyone at the club are shocked and saddened at the loss of one of our valued club members, Philip Wylie. A true gentleman and dear friend to many. Rest in peace Phil."

A service of thanksgiving for Mr Wylie's life will be held tomorrow at Second Islandmagee Presbyterian Church and afterwards to Islandmagee New Cemetery.

Meanwhile, police are appealing for anyone who may have footage of the incident to contact investigators on 101.

Belfast Telegraph