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Road Racing Spectator In Fight For Life

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Monday, July 07, 2008

 

By Claire McNeilly - Belfast Telegraph

 

A well-known businessman was last night battling for his life in hospital after being turned into a human fireball during a horrific motorbike smash.

 

Milton Thom was a spectator at the Skerries 100 motorcycle race in north Co Dublin on Saturday when two motorbikes crashed and engulfed him in flames.

 

The 70-year-old grandfather, who owns the popular Royal Hotel in Cookstown, was initially taken to nearby Beaumont hospital before being transferred to a specialist burns unit at St James Hospital in Dublin. It is understood he will require skin grafts.

 

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, his grand-daughter Tanya Thom revealed he is in a critical but stable condition in hospital. She said: " His throat is very badly burned and he is on a ventilator. We are all hoping for the best but its a case now of waiting to see what happens."

 

Also speaking about the horrific incident was close family friend and clerk of course for Saturday's Skerries 100 race, Francis Everard. He described the frightening moments leading up to the crash, which happened close to his house.

 

"Two bikes crashed, but the problem was that racer Gary Johnson clipped a bank on the inside of the course and his bike went out of control," said Mr Everard. "He then hit a stone pillar at a wall at our house and the bike caught fire. The petrol tank may have exploded. Milton was doused in fuel ending up very badly burned."

 

He added: "Milton was watching the race in my garden, like he always does. It all happened so fast; it was over in a matter of minutes. We are all still in shock. All the thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Loughshinny motorcycle club are with Milton and his family."

 

Mr Thom's family, including his wife Meta, have been maintaining a vigil at his bedside in Dublin ever since he was hospitalised following the terrifying accident.

 

Mr Everard, who is also clerk of course for the Cookstown 100 race, added: " It was a very serious accident. Milton is in a critical condition. He is currently unconscious."

 

UUP councillor and chairman of Cookstown's town centre forum, Trevor Wilson, said that Mr Thom has been heavily involved in the local motorcycling scene for a number of years.

 

The local businessman is also a long-time sponsor of the Cookstown 100 races, in conjunction with Cookstown Council.

 

Mr Thom's granddaughter Samantha, who cut her racing teeth on karts, last year moved up to the junior section of the British Rallycross championship.

 

"Milton is a well-respected businessman within the town," added Mr Wilson. "He has been heavily involved in motorsport all his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family at what must be a terribly traumatic time for them."

 

The crash happened on the second lap of the grand final shortly before 5pm on Saturday.

 

One biker suffered a broken collar bone in the smash, while the other escaped with minor injuries.

 

Local DUP councillor Ian McCrea, who said he knows the family, expressed his shock at the latest incident to hit the road racing fraternity.

 

Saturday's accident comes just three weeks after a young man, who was also from Co Tyrone, was killed at the Donegal International Rally.

 

Richard O'Donnell, known locally as Richard McGrath, died after being hit by a competing car at Ballyarr outside Letterkenny on June 14. There have been calls for rallying to be banned following several deaths associated with the sport in recent years.

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I heard that he had improved significantly?

 

I also believe that there is more to come out regarding the Donegal incident.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

 

There have been calls for rallying to be banned following several deaths associated with the sport in recent years.

 

what a load of crap,

 

sod it ban everything

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Monday, July 07, 2008

 

There have been calls for rallying to be banned following several deaths associated with the sport in recent years.

 

what a load of crap,

 

sod it ban everything

 

I agree. Ban rallying and they will find me revolting. :angry:

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What is the point of this thread?

 

Everybody takes a risk when you watch or participate in motorsport. You choose take the risk, nobody forces you to do it.

(Unless some bit of bike crash machinery whizzez through your house like a bullet when the TT is on 200m away.....but seriously, what chance is there of that?)

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Never quite sure why people just post news stories to forums without comments. Are they just proving they can read?

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What is the point of this thread?

 

 

 

I am not sure what is to be gained from this thread either.

 

Although I do not know the people involved my sympathy goes out to the family etc and I would have prefered it if the motor sport supporters who have already roll out the "motorsport is dangerous" quote as if that justifies every incident had not and just kept quiet as I notice that for some it appeared more important to post such a statement than any sympathy for the individual or his family.

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I was a spectator on the Rally Isle of Man stage at Ballagyr Lane, Peel. The safety marshals had the road taped off and instructed the spectators to stay back behind the tape. Unfortunately, one spectator (I apologize that it was one of my own countrymen) shouted a torrent of foul-mouthed abuse at a marshal just because his son had both feet out beyond the tape line. I heard him shout at the marshal, "Fucking Hitler! Fuck off back to Douglas! He's only a child, leave him alone. He isn't doing any harm!"

 

Well, during the stage two cars overshot the turning point, not dangerously, but you can see why the marshals take no chances. Add to that, they went absolutely crazy when four idiots on scrambler bikes (the ones often seen riding up and down Douglas promenade) turned into the lane. They shouldn't have been there.

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Unfortunately, one spectator (I apologize that it was one of my own countrymen) shouted a torrent of foul-mouthed abuse at a marshal just because his son had both feet out beyond the tape line. I heard him shout at the marshal, "Fucking Hitler! Fuck off back to Douglas! He's only a child, leave him alone. He isn't doing any harm!"

 

Angry, foul mouthed, aggressive and from Northern Ireland? How unusual.

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Never quite sure why people just post news stories to forums without comments. Are they just proving they can read?

 

Did you join just to say that?

 

It's obvious innit - it's supposed to spark discussion.

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I am not sure what is to be gained from this thread either.

 

Although I do not know the people involved my sympathy goes out to the family etc and I would have prefered it if the motor sport supporters who have already roll out the "motorsport is dangerous" quote as if that justifies every incident had not and just kept quiet as I notice that for some it appeared more important to post such a statement than any sympathy for the individual or his family.

I agree completely with you. If it was a member of my family, then I'd be shocked to see such blatant disregard to those suffering.

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