TRIBUTES have been paid to a motorsport stalwart who was involved in motocross for decades and had a passion for getting young people involved.
Barrie Jones, who was a member of local clubs and on the organising committee for the national championships in the white-knuckle off-road motorcycling sport, died aged 68 following a short battle with lung cancer.
His funeral service was held at St Wilfrid’s Church in Standish last Friday, with many mourners wearing motorcycling jackets, and tributes to him have flooded in both from family and his many friends in motorsport.
Born in Manchester, he moved to the borough when he married more than 40 years ago but the last few years of his life were sadly blighted by tragedy, with the untimely death of his son David closely followed by that of his wife Elizabeth.
His sister Susan McCormack said: “He was a kind, intelligent, well-read man who was a massive conversationalist and battled through his difficulties with the help of good friends.
“He was quite politically-minded and although he didn’t get involved he always had things to say about what was going on in the world. He could also turn his hand to anything.
“He was just a wonderful man but I’ve only just realised since he died how well liked he was. Beyond that he was my brother and I love him and miss him.”
Barrie studied at Manchester High School of Art and loved craft and practical projects throughout his life, starting his own roofing business as well as making furniture and transforming his garden.
However, he was best known for his enthusiasm for two-wheeled sport, joining the Vale of Rossendale and Phoenix 580 clubs before spending 13 years working on the KWS British Masters series which included racing the length and breadth of the British Isles.
He was also a keen supporter of the track at Abram Motopark and was particularly keen to encourage junior riders.
A Facebook post informing the motorcycling community of his death by fellow Wigan motocross enthusiast Ken Winstanley generated a massive response, with hundreds of people paying tribute and sharing their memories of him.
Mr Winstanley said: “I first met him around 25 years ago and he came to work alongside us as secretary and treasurer in the motorcycling clubs.
“Within 20 minutes of putting a post on Facebook in the early hours of the morning we had tributes coming in from the USA and Australia from riders who have been over here. He was known and well thought of throughout the world.
“He was such a gentleman, so laid back. He was the nicest person you could ever wish to meet. In 25 years I never knew him to raise his voice or fall out with anybody.”
Barrie was also associated with the charity ride out events organised at Ashton’s Three Sisters circuit by motorcycling enthusiast Bob Brierley, which sees bikers raise money for good causes by paying for high-speed laps of the track.
The recent ride out saw Barry granted one of his wishes to be taken around the circuit on the back of a specially-adapted trike.
The events will also benefit from Barry’s passion for getting young people involved in sport as he has donated a set of race overalls for youngsters to use when they are driven around Three Sisters in the ride out’s two-seater go karts.
The outfits will also be given a special message in his memory.
Mr Brierley said: “He always wanted to go around the Three Sisters on a motorbike so we granted him his last wish.
“He has also donated some race suits for the children. We’re having them embroidered so he will always be remembered.”