Dan Hegarty died after 'a minute error' in high speed race at Macau
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Dan Hegarty died after 'a minute error' in high speed race at Macau
[Image: DanHegartyInquest1.jpg]
Lucy Draycott and Daniel Hegarty

Motorbike racer Daniel Hegarty died after skidding at 138mph when trying to catch up with two competitors on a bend in the Macau Grand Prix.

An inquest heard that he slowed down closer to the corner than in earlier laps and disengaged his clutch for longer - leading to "instability" in his 1,000cc Honda.

The tragedy happened at the race in Macau on November 18, 2017. The hearing at Nottingham Council House was told that he got off to a bad start.

The 31-year-old was thrown from the motorcycle and hit crash barriers beside the track, which used public roads shut off for the event. There were no run-off points for riders in trouble.

Assistant Coroner James Hargan's conclusion was accidental death. He said that the racing team referred to Mr Hegarty's competitiveness.

"The impact of his drive is one of not being deterred by the dangers. The preparation for this race was about going faster and winning.

"I am not suggesting that caution was thrown to the wind or that safety was not taken seriously. Plainly it was.

"But this was a race. Daniel had a drive to win. It happened when that drive to win was at full flight.

"That awful outcome was the result of a minute error in a high speed situation with no real room for error at all," he said.

The coroner referred to the race being run around city streets but pointed out that Mr Hegarty had taken part the year before and had also competed in the Ulster GP, another event run on public roads.

He said that appeared to be "part of the attraction" to Mr Hegarty but added that any error risked riders hitting "unforgiving concrete and steel crash barriers."

The hearing was told that experts checked his Honda CVR machine and found no faults. Father-of-two Mr Hegarty of Bingham was with the Topgun Racing team.

In a statement at the inquest, team owner Adrian Cox described him as a "fantastic mechanic" who insisted on "nothing but perfection".

He said that Mr Hegarty had been "buzzing" before the race and "confident about his prospects" but went on: "Daniel didn't get the best of starts."

They felt he would still do well but he crashed on the fifth lap at a notorious point known as Fishermen's Bend.

Mr Cox added: "On the circuit, there is no room for error. This is part of the attraction of the race."

Mr Hegarty's bike carried specialist equipment which measured speed, gear changes and when brakes were applied.

This was analysed by a Notts police officer who found that Mr Hegarty turned off the throttle 18 metres nearer the corner than he did in the previous lap. The clutch was disengaged, causing "instability" and depriving the braking effect of the engine.

"Braking only started closer to the corner," he said. The rear wheel lost grip and the machine went onto its side on the corner, throwing Mr Hegarty off.

Race director Lei Ut Mui said that the event was never completed. Mr Hegarty died in an ambulance on the way to hospital.

After the hearing, proud Charley Johnson, 29, said she talked to her and Daniel’s son Evan, 11, “all the time” about his father.

And Flynn’s Mum Alexandra Black, 27, also talks to the four-year-old regularly about his Daddy.

The brothers and their mums are in regular contact and do things such as plant flowers and let off balloons as a way to remember Daniel all together.

Charley Johnson added: "Evan is the double of Dan. We thank everybody for their support. We are really grateful for it."

Her mother Linda Johnson added: "He was such a loveable chap and a wonderful father."

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25-04-2019, 02:23 PM
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