Bikers killed in horror weekend

HARRY PEARL AND LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 10:16 10/03/2014

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Four crashes in the Waikato this weekend have left left three men dead and another fighting for his life.

The latest fatalities bring the region's road toll to 10 this year - six more than at the same time in 2013.

The death of a driver at a speedway event over the weekend was region's second non-road-vehicle death.

District road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said it had been a horrific weekend on Waikato's roads, and urged road users to use utmost care and caution.

On Friday, an 80-year-old pedestrian was struck by a van as he crossed State Highway 1 at Karapiro about 1.40pm.

The man, who was crossing the busy highway to get to a cafe, suffered serious head injuries and was taken to Waikato Hospital in a critical condition, Grace said.

Emergency services were called to another serious crash on Saturday, which left a 45-year-old motorcyclist dead.

The man's motorcycle collided with a truck and trailer at Wardville, near Matamata, shortly before midday.

That incident is being investigated by the Waikato serious crash unit and Grace would not speculate on the cause.

"Regardless of who is established as being at fault, what we have now is nine people dead on our roads compared to four for the same period last year," Grace said after the crash.

About 1.25pm on Saturday, a driver in a classic car racing event at Hampton Downs was killed.

Grace said a 68-year-old man died after his 1961 Cooper open-wheel formula car failed to negotiate a sweeping bend and collided with a wall.

"Because part of the management of the event involves having emergency crews in place at the track, medical aid was available to the man straight away.

"However he died at the scene."

Police are investigating the incident on behalf of the coroner.

Yesterday, another male motorcyclist in his early 60s was killed in a crash at 2.50pm.

His motorcycle collided with a four-wheel-drive vehicle near Ngaruawahia on SH39, about 100 metres south of the intersection with Saulbrey Rd.

The crash was the sixth fatality on Waikato roads to involve a motorcycle this year.

The motorbike had been heading north and appeared to have crossed the centre line, Sergeant Steven Jones, of the Waikato Highway Patrol, said.

The Waikato serious crash unit examined the scene but Jones said it was too early to determine the cause.

The family in the 4WD were not injured.

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- Waikato Times

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