Veteran biker killed in “last race”

Adam Easton had been racing bikes for 28 years

A VETERAN Scots motorcyclist who became the third racer to die during an Isle of Man racing festival had said that the event would be his last race.

71-year-old Adam Easton, who is believed to be the Manx Grand Prix oldest participant, died after crashing during the 500cc Classic Grand Prix Race yesterday.

And friends have revealed that he planned to give up the high-pace sport to play golf instead.

The popular competitor was running in 16th place when he came off his bike. The accident is believed to have happened after his bike clipped a bank while cornering.

His friend and neighbour, Ann Morrison, who had known Adam for 20 years, said he had “died doing the thing he loved best”.

“He wanted to break his record and go faster than 93.21mph I think it was,” said Mrs Morrison. “He said this was going to be his last race and he was going down to beat a record he set a few years ago.

“We were all hoping he would take up the golf and give up the bike. As far as we know he was going round a bend and hit a bank but we don’t know anything more.

“I heard the news soon after it happened but I haven’t been able to register it yet.

“He was a terrific chap and the neighbours are absolutely shocked by what’s happened. Everyone up here just loved him.”

Mr Easton, who has no wife or children, had been racing for 28 years at the festival and race organisers and fellow Scottish racing enthusiasts explained that Mr Easton had a passion for the sport.

Bill Bennett, chairman of the Manx Motorcycle Club, said: “He was very much part of the MGP family.

“Adam was well liked by everyone in the paddock and one of the real characters involved in the event.

“He will be greatly missed.”

Mr Easton, from Musselburgh, East Lothian, is third rider to die at this year’s event, which is primarily for amateur motorcyclists.

Neil Kent, 48, from Lincolnshire died during a practice session last Wednesday after winning last year’s lightweight race.

20-year-old Wayne Hamilton from Portadown died in a junior race crash less than two days after winning the Newcomers’ Manx Grand Prix.

Mr Easton had been riding the 28-year-old Manx Norton bike that he had always used at the races along with wearing a vintage white open faced helmet and goggles.

He would regularly bring his trusted bike to motorcycle meetings at the Melville Motor Club at East Fortune Airfield, near Haddington, East Lothian.

The club said he lived for motorcycling and paid tribute to the pensioner.

Diane Dyce, secretary of the club, said: “It came as a bit of a shock although we knew where he was and what he was doing.

“He was a lovely man, very polite, and old fashioned type of gentleman.

“He has been a long-term competitor at East Fortune. He has been motorcycling and competing for a very long time and there is a lot of people [like him] who live for that.”

He regularly raced on his beloved Manx Norton bike

A general tribute was posted on the club’s forum saying: “East Fortune lost a good friend today, on the circuit he lived for from year to year. Was an honour and pleasure to know you, Adam.”

Darvill Racing, an Isle of Man-based racing team, said: “RIP Adam Easton, another rider filling up the paddock upstairs. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Mr Easton has previously told of his love for motorcycles and his obsession with the dangerous Isle of Man Mountain circuit.

He said in an interview: “I’ve always been involved with bikes. For men of my age group motorbikes were our daily transport, for work and fun and everything else – even sometimes being chased by the police.”

The rider was inspired to race by Jock Finlay, a fellow Musselburgh man, who had won races on the Isle of Man.

In 1983 he changed his motorbike to Finlay’s Manx Norton and had been racing with it ever since.

Mr Easton told how he exercised in the gym twice a week and had lost two-and-a-half stone ahead of this year’s festival.

He said: “You have to punish yourself to take the punishment that you get here.”

Mr Easton’s next of kin has been informed of his death.

Mr Easton was a self-proclaimed “confirmed bachelor” and did not think that at this age that would change.

He said: “Anyway, the craic with all the lads is great and I love racing.”

Mr Easton had competed in 34 Manx Grand Prix races, racing in his first Manx Grand Prix in 1983.

He recorded his highest place of 11th in last year’s Classic Senior Race.