A MOTORBIKE racer has died in a horrific crash in north Co Dublin, a year after he survived a similar accident which cost the life of an elderly man.
Victor Gilmore (43), who is the third racer to die on the road in the past two months, was this week due to attend the inquest into the fatal accident which killed 75-year-old Stewart Hill McCook a year ago.
A spokesman for Mr Gilmore's family said last night: "He lost his life doing what he loved most. He will be dearly missed by his family, team and road racing family.
A trackside marshal was also injured during the collision which occurred around 1.20pm yesterday at the Killalane Road Race near Skerries, his condition is not thought to be serious.
A friend of Mr Gilmore, from Ballymoney, Co Antrim, recalled the sad events that occurred over the last two months.
"This is a tremendous tragedy for everybody involved in the sport, in what's been a very difficult year," his friend said.
"Victor is the third racer we've lost in the past few months.
"First of all Milo Byrne (36) was killed in early July in the Skerries (100) Road Race.
"Then two weeks later Stephen Larkin (27) was killed in an accident during the practice session for the Kells Road Race.
"And now Victor ... It's just been a terrible year."
Victor is survived by two children from his first marriage and a baby girl born earlier this year to his current partner. He was travelling at around 160kph when he lost control of his Yamaha motorcycle and hit the safety bales.
"There were safety bales in place but when you hit the ground at that speed it's always touch and go," a source said.
"He was alive when they took him from the scene but he died a short time later on arrival at Beaumont Hospital."
The experienced racer, who competed for the first time in 1996, survived a similar freak accident in August 2010 at the Arnoy road races.
Mr Gilmore's bike struck a tree and then hit Mr McCook who was watching the race.
A Northern Ireland coroner was due to issue his findings on the accident that killed the great-grandfather this week.
Mayor of Ballymoney Bill Kennedy was the clerk of the races where the accident took place last year. He said: "It's unreal. Victor was part of the furniture in the paddocks for nearly 15 years.
"It can be a cruel sport and there is a high price to pay, but everyone has to make choices, it is something those boys love and getting on those bikes and racing is their world."