Local rider Paul Cassidy admits he was extremely lucky to escape serious injury in a spectacular crash at the North West 200 a fortnight ago. 

During the final Superstock qualifying session Ian Hutchinson had overtaken Liam Chawke on the inside at the right-hander shortly after the start/finish complex on the coast road approaching Millbank Avenue. 

According to Cassidy, Chawke thought that something had come up from Hutchy’s bike and hit his visor. 

‘At the same time that Hutchy was going up the inside I was lining up to overtake Chawke on the left. But he was unaware that I was there and sat up, slowing right up. 

‘I had just clicked fourth and it looked to me at the time that his bike cut out, but yes he did sit up and slow down quite dramatically. 

‘The marshals said the same thing too. He pulled to the left but only realised I was there when he looked over his left shoulder. 

‘Unfortunately there was nothing I could do at that sort of speed (around 130mph) to avoid him and we clipped each other.’ 

Cassidy glanced off to the left and initially thought of taking the slip road onto Millbank Avenue. But he was still going way too quickly and he instead locked the Prez Racing Yamaha R1 up completely, hitting the kerb then Rectocel air fencing in front of the garden wall of a house. 

‘It’s amazing in situations like this that everything seems to go into slow motion and as I approached the wall I made my mind up to leap off the pegs to hopefully avoid getting crushed by bike. 

‘But the airbag decompressed, briefly catching my left leg then catapulting me up in the air. I believe I did three rotations and went about 25 feet high (level with the roof of a two-storey house), before landing on the bonnet of a Volkswagen car parked in the driveway.’ 

The house was being rented for the week by fellow rider Paul McCoy, and the latter’s wife explained to Manx freelance photographer Dave Kneen, who regularly uses the garden to take images from, that she had a lot of family with her and had been watching the racing from the garden but they had all gone inside minutes before the crash. ‘They were so lucky,’ said Dave. 

The fact that Cassidy landed on the car bonnet probably cushioned his fall, and although he was badly winded he did not suffer any fractures. 

‘I was lying on the ground at the side of the car and remember a marshal saying ‘he’s dead’. 

Battered and bruised but not fazed by the crash which ended on the bonnet of a car at the North West 200 (Photo: Dave Kneen)
Battered and bruised but not fazed by the crash which ended on the bonnet of a car at the North West 200 (Photo: Dave Kneen) (Dave Kneen)

‘No, I’m not, I’m just winded,’ Paul shouted. 

With that he was helped to his feet and began to walk back to the paddock.  

‘The course car came along and I jumped in, so they brought me back to the start/finish where I attended the medical centre for a check up. Apart from having part of my leg bandaged up for a friction burn, I was fine, albeit bruised, battered and very sore the next day. 

‘The bike was quite badly damaged. The front-end took most of the impact so I needed new forks and front wheel.  

‘Racetorx helped me out by supplying me with a full braking system and thumb levers for the R1, along with the same for my own R6 and Z650 Kawasaki Supertwin bike. 

‘A big thank you to everyone for all the support . . . . all the medical staff did a cracking job.’ 

He added that his RST leathers and Arai helmet didn’t have a scratch on them. 

The car that Paul Cassidy landed on
The car that Paul Cassidy landed on (-)

Paul, who set up Island Fuels home heating oil supply company in 2020, is preparing himself and his bikes for a busy fortnight ahead. 

‘I’m entered in all eight solo races, but I’s perhaps concentrating mainly on the 600 and twin classes to be honest, the big bike is just for the extra laps.’ 

Car Magic of Balthane, SBS Brakes and his own company are all assisting his racing effort, but his main backer for the TT is eSIM Go, which provides travellers with a digital mobile ecosystem.