Friday 9 December 2016

Tragic death of motor champ father in race competition

Paul Healy

Published 27/04/2015 | 02:30

A man was killed as he drove his car at this spot during the Clare Motor Club Annual Hill Climb at Scalp Hill in the Burren on Saturday when his car hit this cliff face at speed
A man was killed as he drove his car at this spot during the Clare Motor Club Annual Hill Climb at Scalp Hill in the Burren on Saturday when his car hit this cliff face at speed
Simon McKinley with his 11-month-old son Rory McKinley and his wife Deirdre in his Radical Sr8 racing car

The father of a motorsport driver killed in a horrific crash has paid tribute to his son, saying "I love him with all my heart".

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Peter McKinley, father of champion driver Simon (34), said he was being strong for his daughter-in-law Deirdre and his 11-month-old grandson Rory.

"He's got a wife and an 11-month-old baby and in the end of the day you have to hold things together.

"There's a time and a place and I'll find my time and place to cry in the corner.

"I love my son with all my heart and it's really sad he's gone," he said.

Simon, from the Naul, Co Dublin, died when his car went out of control during a race on Saturday.

The four-time Irish Hillclimb and Sprint champion was competing in the first event of this year's competition, in Ballyvaughan, Co Clare.

"It all happened so quickly, he was going at a speed of 140-miles-an hour," said Peter, who is also a champion motorsport driver.

"To pass away doing something that you were supremely good at... You know, he was a very talented driver."

Simon and Deirdre had been dubbed "Ireland's fastest family", due to his winning record and her being one of the highest-ranking female motorists in the world.

In an interview with the Irish Independent last week the couple spoke about their mutual love of motorsport.

"Simon has been involved in motorsports since he was five, he started on a bike and he literally went from one thing to the next," Deirdre said at the time.

"He has been driving all of his life and we even met through the sport."

Mr McKinley's best friends Dermot Nolan and Daryl Ramsay paid an emotional tribute to "the nicest man you could ever meet".

"I got the message back to say that an accident had happened and I cleared the road to allow the ambulance to go up from the paddocks," Mr Ramsay said.

"When nobody was coming running back from the crash we knew there was something serious after happening.

"Straight away my mind went to keeping myself busy, clearing the road, taking my mind off what had just happened, because it's very hard to comprehend that you have just lost your best friend."

Irish Independent

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