Northern Ireland

Hodson speaks of brother's Ulster Grand Prix crash death

Jamie Hodson and his brother Rob Image copyright S RIAL/ ROAD RACING NEWS
Image caption Rob Hodson, right, had been slightly ahead of Jamie in the race, but clipped the grass verge and came off his bike

The brother of a motorcyclist killed in a racing accident in which he was also injured says the tragedy constantly occupies his thoughts.

Jamie Hodson, 35, was killed during the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod in August 2017.

On Friday, the coroner ruled the Wigan racer had died of severe head injuries.

He swerved while trying to avoid the bike of his brother Rob, who had fallen just up the track. It was the brother's first race in the Ulster Grand Prix.

Rob had been slightly ahead in the race, but clipped the grass verge and came off his bike.

You can listen to the full interviews with Rob and James Hodson here.

Four riders behind tried to avoid Rob's bike, but Jamie was thrown from his bike into a telegraph pole.

Jamie, who won the 2016 Super Twins Manx Grand Prix, suffered a fractured skull alongside a cardiac arrest and died shortly afterwards in hospital.

The brothers' father, James, himself a racer, was also at the race that day and was watching from the riders' enclosure.

Image caption Rob Hodson and his father, James, spoke to the BBC following the inquest

Rob walked away from the accident with a damaged ankle, but initially didn't realise how serious it was for Jamie.

"Going from being in a normal race to the disaster happening, it's within five or six seconds and you can't take it all in," he said.

Rob returned to the enclosure and changed out of his leathers before going to join his dad, who had gone on ahead to see Jamie at the hospital.

"We probably had 40 minutes or so with Jamie before he left us so it was great to have that time in his final moments," Rob said.

"What happened with Jamie is in your mind all the time and it's every other thought you have."

The family have now got Jamie's bike back and plan to restore it and put it on display in their workshop.

'A living nightmare'

James Hodson said when the accident happened, he didn't think Jamie or Rob were involved.

"I waited and waited in the enclosure but Rob and Jamie didn't come back," he said.

"It was almost as if the clock had stopped, it was a living nightmare."

James said there was an initial relief when he heard Rob was ok, before learning of the severity of Jamie's injuries.

During the inquest on Friday the coroner, Joe McCrisken, asked if more could have been done to prevent the death and if the telegraph pole with which Jamie collided could have been better protected.

"I don't think more could have been done," said James.

Image copyright Manx Grand Prix
Image caption Jamie Hodson was killed during the Ulster Grand Prix in August 2017

"Every single rider on that grid knows that if you hit the telegraph pole at that speed there isn't much [that] can be done."

Rob agreed, saying it wasn't practical to try and make each telegraph pole safe.

"It's the nature of road racing," he added. "Everyone knows the risk."

Dennis McCullough, an independent safety officer at the Ulster Grand Prix, told the coroner the course did meet safety requirements set out in industry guidelines.

Ruling Jamie Hodson died as a result of a severe head injury and other injuries, coroner Joe McCrisken said no motor sport could ever be completely safe.

He added that Jamie Hodson had died doing something that he loved.

Jamie Hodson was not the only rider to be killed at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2017; Gavin Lupton died of his injuries 12 days after the event.

Fabrice Miguet was killed during the 2018 event.

Listen to the full interviews with Rob and James Hodson on BBC Sounds by clicking here.

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