Wife's touching tribute as Gavin Lupton dies 12 days after Ulster Grand Prix
The widow of tragic motorbike racer Gavin Lupton has said his death has left a huge hole in her life after he was fatally injured at this year's Ulster Grand Prix.
The West Yorkshire rider came off his bike at the Dundrod 150 challenge on Thursday, August 10.
Aged 37, Mr Lupton was a popular and experienced rider.
He had been competing at the Ulster Grand Prix since 2015 and had more than 15 years experience as a professional.
Known as 'Luppy' to his friends, his successful racing career also saw him compete at the North West 200, the Isle of Man TT and the Irish National Road Race.
Yesterday his widow Hannah Lupton told the Belfast Telegraph: "He was a much-loved man and he's left a huge hole behind."
She added: "As a family we would like to thank the people of Belfast for their generosity and support, from complete strangers who follow road racing, the staff at the Ramada Encore and of course the amazing doctors and nurses at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
"And it goes without saying our friends over here have been fantastic. We could not have got through this without them."
In an earlier tribute to her husband on social media she wrote: "My lovely husband Gavin Lupton passed away this morning. This was a race he couldn't win despite trying his best. Your kind wishes and thoughts have been a source of comfort to all his family and close friends. Our hearts are broken."
Mr Lupton's aunt and uncle, Paul and Maggie Lupton, said he had made his family proud.
"It is the saddest, heartbreaking day for the Lupton family," they wrote.
"We are all heartbroken. Our thoughts are with his wife Hannah and daughter Susie, his parents Gus and Jackie and his sisters Jessica and Sarah. Gavin made us all proud, he is the Lupton Legend. He will be missed and never forgotten."
Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club said that Mr Lupton came off his bike at the 'Lougher's' section of the 7.4 mile circuit.
In a statement the club said: "The Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club would like to offer its heartfelt condolences to Gavin's family, friends and team, and requests that their privacy is respected as they come to terms with his passing."
Tim Morrow, the mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, said: "We are saddened by the news that Gavin has passed away.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Gavin's wife Hannah, his family and friends at this very difficult time.
"We send our deepest sympathies to the Lupton family as they come to terms with their loss."
Mr Lupton was the second rider to die as the result of a crash at this year's Ulster Grand Prix.
Jamie Hodson (35), the Manx 2016 Supertwin winner from Wigan, died in hospital on August 10 after a serious crash that also involved his brother Rob.
His brother suffered cuts and bruises.
Another rider, Stephen Lynd from Templepatrick, remains in a critical condition at the Royal Victoria Hospital with injuries sustained in a practice session.
On Mr Lupton's official Facebook page, friends continued to post their condolences and shared happy memories.
Fellow racer Dan Booth from York said: "Ride in peace Gavin Lupton.
"Hasn't sunk in yet. You were an amazing bloke and an amazing rider, you've gave me the best race of my entire career at Mallory, you pushed harder than anybody has ever pushed me before. RIP mate see you again one day."
Jonathan Harrison knew Mr Lupton from the North Yorkshire Road Racing Supporters club.
"Rest in peace Gav," he said.
"You fought a long fight. I'll miss your stories and the passion you had for our sport. Thinking of those closest to him at this time. RIP Luppy."
Carolyn Acton-Reed commented: "I'm so sad to hear that my lovely friend Gavin Lupton has died. He was such a great friend and helped me at a number of work events over the years. He was always smiling and kept me sane when things were getting stressful."
She continued: "Can't believe I won't see you again. Sending much love to your wife Hannah Lupton and your family."
Lauren Evelyn Day said: "Absolutely gutted. Gavin was such a lovely guy and an amazing racer. I feel honoured to of known you and I'll miss my friend. This isn't goodbye, this is I'll see you later. Shine bright Luppy, my thoughts and condolences go out to your beautiful family."
Sharing a smiling picture with her late friend, Kerry Harrison wrote: "RIP Gavin this is how I will always remember you, being daft with a big smile on your face."