Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Manx Grand Prix 2014: Stephen McIlvenna killed in qualifying

Media captionManx Grand Prix 2014: Stephen McIlvenna killed in qualifying

A former Manx Grand Prix winner has been killed during qualifying for this year's event in the Isle of Man, organisers have confirmed.

Stephen McIlvenna, 40, from Randalstown in County Antrim, crashed on the Mountain Mile section of the TT course on Tuesday.

Race organisers said he was an experienced competitor who had been racing in the event for nine years.

McIlvenna won the 2009 Junior MGP and went on to compete in the TT.

Image caption Stephen McIlvenna made his Manx Grand Prix debut in 2005

A Manx Motor Cycle Club spokesman said it passed on its "deepest sympathy to Stephen's family and friends".

The coroner has been informed and an investigation into the circumstances of the accident is under way.

Clerk of the course Phil Taubman told the BBC he was "one of a large number of fantastic Irish supporters of Manx road racing".

He said: "The Manx and the Irish have a great affinity for road racing and Stephen was one of those guys who was always there.

"He was a terrific and well experienced rider."

Northern Ireland's Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín expressed her shock and sadness at Mr McIlvenna's death.

"Stephen was an experienced rider who clearly loved the sport of motorbike racing," she said.

"He was a regular competitor on the Isle of Man and his death is a tragedy."

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