Scottish rider dies in North West 200 race

Mark Buckley Mark Buckley joined the new Splitlath Redmond Racing Team last month

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A rider has been killed in an accident on the last day of Northern Ireland's North West 200 motorcycle road races.

He has been named as Mark Buckley from Loch Lomond in Scotland.

The 35-year-old came off his bike close to Millbank Avenue in Portstewart during the Superstock Race. He died in hospital on Saturday afternoon.

The director of the North West 200 event, Mervyn Whyte, said the organisers were "devastated" by the news of Mr Buckley's death.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jayne and we extend our deepest sympathies to the entire family circle," Mr Whyte added.

He said the organisers had worked hard to make safety a priority during the races and added the accident had happened on a high speed section of the course.

Investigation

No other riders were involved.

The Sports Minister, Caral Ni Chuilin, said she was "deeply saddened to learn of the accident" and she also expressed her condolences to Mr Buckley's family.

"The circumstances surrounding this incident are a matter in the first instance for the organisers of the race and the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (MCUI) to investigate and I would encourage all concerned to co-operate fully with that investigation," she said.

Mervyn Whyte pays tribute to rider Mark Buckley

Mr Buckley had been a regular competitor at the North West 200 event.

This year he was racing for the new Splitlath Redmond Racing team and had been due to compete for them at the TT races in the Isle of man in June.

In a statement, the team said: "Mark joined the team last month to contest the Isle of Man TT and other road races. An experienced road racer, the North West 200 was one of his favourite events on the calendar.

"Mark was a rider who always had a smile on his face and although he was new to the Splitlath Redmond outfit, he had already made a lot of friends within the team.

"He was a man who was always positive, with an infectious sense of humour and a rider who cared deeply about his colleagues and others.

"Mark will be missed by everyone at Splitlath Redmond and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jayne, his family and friends."

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