North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte has paid tribute to English rider Simon Andrews after the former top newcomer lost his fight for life yesterday.
The 31-year-old from Evesham in Worcestershire was involved in a crash on lap four of the Superstock race on the approach to Metropole corner in Portrush on Saturday.
He was airlifted from the scene and transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast but sadly succumbed to his injuries.
Whyte expressed his condolences to the dead rider’s family and friends after the fatality cast a cloud over the event.
“This is a very sad day and I want to offer my condolences to Simon’s family and friends and to his race team,” he said.
“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.”
Andrews died in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital on Monday 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. “Simon loved road racing and he loved competing at the NW 200,” he said.
“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 NW 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.”
Andrews had battled his way back to fitness over the winter after a serious crash at the Le Mans 24-Hour meeting.
He was the leading newcomer at the North West 200 in 2011.