Tributes paid to local rally driver

Emerency services at the scene where rally driver Ryan Bradley died after the car he was racing plunged into water during the first stage of the Down Rally near Castlewellan Pic Pacemaker
Emerency services at the scene where rally driver Ryan Bradley died after the car he was racing plunged into water during the first stage of the Down Rally near Castlewellan Pic Pacemaker

Tributes have been paid to tragic rally driver Ryan Bradley who died after his car crashed into a wall and plunged into a reservoir near Castlewellan during the Down Rally.

Mr Bradley, from Kilrea, was a member of Magherafelt and District Motor Club.

Club chairman, James McKeefry, who was also taking part in the Down Rally, said the club was devastated.

“I was competing with another crew at the event when I received the word,” Mr McKeefry told the BBC.

“We went immediately out to be with Ryan’s friends and family. It is devastating for anybody that knew Ryan and anyone from a rallying background.

“It is devastatingly sad and we will try and help everyone through it.”

SDLP MLA John Dallat said there was disbelief and shock in the community.

“This was the tragic loss of a very good young man who was extremely popular with everyone,” Mr Dallat said.

“Ryan’s interest in rallying was entirely professional and always focused on safety and this tragedy can only be described as very unfortunate and difficult to understand.”

DUP MLA Adrian McQuillan, who lives near Mr Bradley’s family home, said he wanted to express his condolences to the family.

“The Bradley family will be devastated by this,” he said.

A memorial Facebook page set up after the tragedy had been liked by over 6,500 people by Sunday afternoon.

In August 20-year-old Timothy Cathcart was killed during a race at the Ulster Rally in Co Fermanagh.