Safety row at motorbike road race where Wigan rider was killed

The organisers of a road race where a Wigan motorbiking ace was killed have become embroiled in safety row.

Friday, 30th August 2019, 3:21 pm
Jamie Hodson

The team behind the Ulster GP, where Ashton in Makerfield rider Jamie Hodson lost his life in a crash in 2017, has strongly hit back at claims in a national report that money earmarked for safety improvements at the track were instead used on other facilities.

Other news: Tributes paid to popular Wigan legend 'Big Al'And Mr Hodson’s girlfriend is among those who have spoken of their unease.

Rachel McKay told the BBC: “The thing that doesn’t rest well with me is the actual amount they’ve spent on safety, especially if that’s what they’ve been given the money for.

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“I don’t begrudge them spending money on facilities as they do need updating, but it’s the sheer amount of money.”

The report claimed the race was given £255,000 in funding from the Northern Irish government but only £25,000 went on safety bales.

The rest was spent on refurbishing the clubhouse, buildings and paddock for riders alongside £40,000 forked out for hard surfacing to benefit wheelchair users.

Mr Hodson hit a telegraph pole at the Joey’s Windmill point of the Dundrod circuit, the same spot which 12 months later claimed the life of French rider Fabrice Miguet as well.

The report did not make any suggestion that the Ulster GP organisers have done anything wrong.

The team behind the race said safety improvements formed part of their original funding bid but were not the sole focus of it.

And they stressed that every bit of spending from the public purse was signed off by Northern Irish politicians following proper scrutiny.

A spokesperson said: “The organisers did not receive any funding intended for track safety that was used on any other improvements.”

They said that buildings have been used to facilitate safety training events.