Motorbike racer, 36, dies following crash at Tandragee
A MOTORBIKE racer from Dublin has died after a fatal crash in a race in Co Armagh.
Noel Murphy, 36, of Lusk in north Dublin was killed after he crashed his bike at the famous Tandragee race track.
It is thought Noel was four laps into the race in the Junior Support category when the crash happened at about midday yesterday.
Racing was suspended for a brief period but began again at the request of Noel's father who had been watching the race.
Known to his friends as "Smurf", Noel worked as a plasterer with his father's company and had recently celebrated the birth of his only son.
He recorded an impressive victory just last week at the Cookstown 100 race and is understood to have been taking part in this week's race in order to secure a place in the landmark Manx racing on the Isle of Man.
A friend of Noel's who preferred not to be named said the racing community "had been on a high for him after his great win last week. This is such a terrible blow", they added.
Tony Carton, chairman of the Loughshinny Motorcycle Supporters Club, of which Noel was a member, said in a statement last night that Noel's death was a "great loss to the club and to sport". He added "rest in peace Smurf from your racing friends and community."
Many people have taken to Noel's Facebook racing page to leave their condolences with one racing fan writing "RIP Noel Murphy ... Sadly passed away doing what you loved ... "
Another said "the world of road racing lost yet another brave man today, Noel Murphy. You have been taken too early ... "
Racing fans also took to Twitter to offer their condolences with one fan tweeting "I always think of Tandragee as the TT Mountain Course of Ireland. When it bites, it bites hard. But if you've raced it, you love it. RIP Noel."
This is the second death that has taken place at the Tandragee track. Martin Finnegan, also a Dubliner from Lusk, died at the bank holiday race weekend in 2008.