Tributes after death of Simon Andrews, motorcycle racer for Norfolk-based RAF Reserves
A rider with Norfolk-based motorcycle team RAF Reserves has died after suffering serious injuries while competing in a race at the weekend.
Simon Andrews, 29, was competing in the North West 200 Road Races on Saturday when he was involved in a crash.
A rider with Marham-based RAF Reserves, Mr Andrews had competed for the team on a Honda in the MCE British Superbike Championship, but had taken time away to compete for the Penz13.com in the Northern Ireland race.
Mr Andrews, from Evesham in Worcestershire, died in hospital today, which led to tributes from the motorsports world.
MCE BSB series director Stuart Higgs said: “I am deeply saddened by today’s news. I’ve known Simon since he made his British Championship debut in 2000.
“He was extremely highly regarded and his comebacks from serious injuries in recent years earned the utmost admiration and total respect of everyone.
“On behalf of the Championship I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Simon’s father Stuart, his mother Dee, his sister Claire and all his family, friends and team members.”
A statement from the North West 200 said the rider, who was airlifted from the course, died in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital today with his parents Stuart and Dee and girlfriend Lisa among those at his bedside.
His father paid tribute to the Penz13.com BMW team rider.
He said: “Simon loved road racing and he loved competing at the North West 200.
“He has had a motorbike since he was four years old and started racing when he was 16. From that first race Simon progressed to riding for the factory Honda TT Legends team and his Mum and I are very proud of his racing achievements.
“Road racing was in his blood and Simon preferred the roads to short circuits. He was fully aware of the dangers involved but he loved the challenge that that offered. Simon always said ‘Once you’ve been on the roads there’s nothing else to compare with it’.
“Simon made his road racing debut at the North West 200 in 2011. He loved the racing, the relaxed atmosphere and the fans he met there. Simon always said that the North West fans were the most knowledgeable in the world as they knew everything about the sport and the bikes.
“Ireland had a special place in his heart as he scored his first ever championship point in a meeting at Mondello Park (Co Kildare).
“Simon loved children and I always remember how he would kneel down to be at the same height as the kids who asked him for his autograph or picture.
“Throughout his career Simon has always been involved with various charities and that is why we have made a donation of his organs today. Simon always wanted that to happen.”
North West 200 event director Mervyn Whyte said: “This is a very sad day and I want to offer my condolences to Simon’s family and friends and to his race team.
“Simon was a superb rider and a great character in the paddock. He was a huge asset to our race. It was an absolute pleasure to work with him and he was always very helpful when we asked for his assistance. He will be sadly missed by everyone at the North West 200.”
Mr Andrews had a lengthy period out of the sport following a crash at Snetterton in a British Superbike race in 2011, but fought his way back from that setback.