Professionalism needed in motorcycle races

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 11:46 05/09/2014

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A "degree of professionalism needs to be created" for motorcycle races in New Zealand after a competitor died at a Canterbury event, a coroner says.

Craig Reginald Hyde, 46, of Ashburton, suffered fatal chest injuries after he lost control of his motorcycle and fell during a Classic Action Motorcycle Sport race at Levels Raceway at Timaru on December 8, 2012.

He was run over by a following motorcyclist who was unable to avoid him.

In findings released today, coroner David Crerar said administrative failures by race organisers did not contribute to Hyde's death, but there was evidence of lapses from best practice that were "sufficient to cause concern".

Witness Wendy Sullivan told the coroner at an inquest in April about inexperienced track and flag marshals.

Two other witnesses, John Hecker and Peter Knapton, commented on poor organisation and inexperienced administration at the event.

There was no evidence that track or weather conditions had caused Hyde to lose control, and he was described as a fit and experienced motorcyclist.

The coroner said management of the event could have been better, particularly in its post-crash reactions.

Those in charge of the race were amateurs and volunteers, and a "degree of professionalism needs to be created" for races.

"Strict adherence to the rules prompted by Motorcycling New Zealand and better training of all of those involved in race administration is required," he said.

Flag marshals needed to be trained or work in conjunction with other trained and experienced marshals before they could be relied on for safe racing, the coroner said.

Motorcycling New Zealand president Jim Tuckerman said the officials involved in the 2012 event had all been through training since Hyde's death.

The organisation relied on volunteers and aimed to put all of them through training every two years to keep them ''up to date''.

''We have systems in place which we review on a continual basis to ensure when we have incidents such as Craig's accident these are learnt from and things are improved,'' he said.

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