Extra safety measures for motorcyclists after rider dies at circuit

Barry Pritchard died at Snetterton Circuit in June 2020. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Snetterton Circuit, where Barry Pritchard died after a collision in June 2020 - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Motorcycles will have to be fitted with extra safety measures before they can be ridden during track days at a Norfolk race circuit.

It follows the death of a 70-year-old rider after a collision which happened at Snetterton Circuit.

Retired businessman Barry Pritchard from Attleborough, was riding at the South Norfolk track on June 16, 2020, an inquest before a jury in Norwich heard.

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said as he approached the second corner, his motorcycle cartwheeled through the air, Mr Pritchard was thrown from the machine and died from injuries he sustained.

In evidence given via statements, jurors heard Mr Pritchard was taking part in a track day with other enthusiasts when a collision occurred. Fellow rider Craig Havelock said Mr Pritchard clipped his left knee on the circuit's second turn.

"As I looked, I saw the other rider's bike go down on its front suspension and the rider looked like he was going over the handlebars," he said. "It didn't look good."

Mr Pritchard was pronounced dead at the scene. A post mortem examination concluded he died from head injuries.

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Circuit manager Jamie Hopper said track days were carefully controlled and managed. He said the most likely cause of the crash was the sudden application of the front brake on Mr Pritchard's machine.

He added while brake guards were fitted to prevent the front brake being applied when collisions occurred during race days, they had not been mandatory during track days, when riders were not racing each other competitively. Mr Hopper said guards had now been made mandatory on track days at Snetterton.

Breckland Council health and safety inspector Jeremy Hathaway said Mr Pritchard was "highly regarded as one of the fastest and most experienced riders" at Snetterton.

He said police had examined Mr Pritchard's 1,000cc BMW and found no faults. He added: "The collision was light but the contact applied the front brake, causing the front wheel to lock, throwing Mr Pritchard onto the track."

After summing up, Mrs Lake told the 10-strong jury it must reach a unanimous conclusion. Jurors took 45 minutes to conclude his death was an accident.


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