A MISADVENTURE verdict was recorded on two Manx Grand Prix competitors who died during last year’s Junior race.
The four-lap race on Wednesday, September 1, was red-flagged after bikes number 60 ridden by Jamie Adam and number 49 ridden by Christopher Bradshaw collided at Alpine corner just north of Kirk Michael.
Police accident investigator Acting Sergeant Peter Dyer told the court Mr Adam’s bike, a Suzuki GSXR600, had touched the near-side kerb of the right-hand bend approaching Alpine.
It then ran to the opposite side striking the hedge before returning to the near side, throwing Mr Adam off. He hit the hedge coming to rest on the racing line on the outside of the bend.
The bike continued upright hitting the off-side hedge just before Alpine. It then collided with Mr Bradshaw’s bike, throwing him off.
Mr Bradshaw’s bike, a Yamaha R6, travelled 85 metres into a field, hitting a tree and ending up at the back of Alpine House.
Flag marshal Adrian Bell, who was on duty outside Iceman’s Cottage, said he noticed something amiss as the bikes passed on their second lap, shortly before 11am.
‘Three bikes caught my attention because they were close together racing each other,’ he said. ‘The first was on the correct racing line but the second [Mr Adam’s bike number 60] was too far over to the right hand side. The third [Mr Bradshaw, number 49] was on the correct line.
‘It happened in a matter of seconds.’
Despite attempts to resuscitate Mr Adam, he died soon after at the scene.
Chief sector marshal Kevin Quinn said he saw the three bikes enter the sector at about 160mph with only about four metres between each of them.
He too said he saw Mr Adam’s bike to the right of the racing line.
‘I could see the rider trying to bank the bike back to the racing line but he was still drifting. Both wheels hit the kerb causing it to wobble and bounce back into the road. The rider’s feet were off the footrests and he was fighting with it,’ he said.
‘It drifted back across the road to the rider’s right-hand edge and the broken tarmac, hitting the hedge and running along the hedge parallel with the road.
‘I knew the rider was going to be in trouble.’
He added: ‘I saw the bike hit the hedge again, harder, and there was a big cloud of dust and debris.’
Deputy sector marshal David Skillen said he saw Mr Adam and his bike flying through the air about 10 feet up, then, he said, Mr Adam’s bike hit Mr Bradshaw’s bike.
‘Another bike appeared and the bike in the air landed on the top of the other bike with an almighty bang. It was sheer bad luck,’ he said.
Chief technical officer for the Manx Grand Prix Jeffrey Kirby said no faults had been found with either bike and a later inspection at the vehicle test centre at Tromode confirmed this.
Acting Sergeant Dyer said there were three possible factors in the accident. He said a foot rest on Mr Adam’s bike was sheered off. If this had happened before the accident rather than during the crash, he said it could have caused him to run wide.
He added the sunlight passing between the tree branches could produce a disorientating, strobe-like effect.
Finally, he said Mr Adam’s tinted visor was heavily fly-splattered. He was not using tear-offs on his visor and so this could have obscured his vision.
A statement from Mr Adam’s mother, Carol, said her son was a petty officer in the navy and had served in the Gulf. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. She said he had a passion for motorcycles having had several before acquiring a Suzuki SV650 twin to race, which he did at many circuits around the UK.
In his first MGP race, the Newcomers’ in 2009, he came ninth. She described him as: ‘Loud and full of life. He was inquisitive and active with a large group of friends and with a great sense of humour.’
Mr Bradshaw’s partner Diana Rushton said he had served for three years in the RAF, completing duty in Northern Ireland before joining West Midlands police at 21. She said they had lived in Tamworth and Mr Bradshaw worked as a traffic officer. He had received a commendation from the chief constable for his part in tackling a gang of armed robbers.
He too was passionate about motorcycles and racing.
His ambition had been to ride in the TT but he was injured in TT practices after a fall at Keppel Gate in 2010. Instead he raced in the MGP the same year.
‘He had an outward persona of being hard-faced and arrogant but he was affectionate and loved me and our dogs as well as his job and his bikes and racing,’ she said.
Coroner Alastair Montgomerie paid tribute to the marshals’ and medical staff’s skill and dedication in dealing with the accident and offered condolences to the bereaved families and friends.
He said Mr Adam, 28, and Mr Bradshaw, 39, both died from multiple injuries as a result of the accident.
He said Mr Adam, who was ahead of Mr Bradshaw as he entered the corner on the wrong line, hit the kerb and was thrown from his bike, dying from his injuries.
His bike continued and, ‘in what can only be described as sheer bad luck’ after he parted company from it, hit Mr Bradshaw’s bike, causing him to suffer fatal injuries.
He suggested riders might well consider using tear-offs on their visors to ensure a clear view during racing.