Man killed in Burren rally event

Man killed in Burren rally event


Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015
The scene of Saturday’s tragic crash which claimed the life of a racing champion – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

A man has been killed during a motorsport event in Co Clare this afternoon.

The driver, named as 34-year-old Simon McKinley, a married father-of-one from Co Dublin, died when his single-seater racing car lost control and crashed at around 5.30pm.

The crash happened during the Clare Motor Club Annual Hillclimb which was staged on Scalp Hill between Carran and Balharbour in the Burren.

The narrow country road was closed immediately after the crash as event marshals, safety officers and emergency crews rushed to the scene. It’s believed the driver died instantly.

The road, which had been closed for the event, is not expected to reopen until a garda technical examination has been completed.

The victim’s body has been removed to University Hospital Limerick where a postmortem examination is expected to taken place later.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015
Drivers, event staff and enthusiasts have been left numbed by the tragedy – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

Drivers, support crews and motorsport enthusiasts gather near the event start line where they consoled each other.

While the victim has not been named, one man said: “He was the star of today’s show. Everyone came here to see him. Everyone is devastated. No one can believe it.”

In a statement this evening, Motorsport Ireland  it “deeply regrets that competitor Simon McKinley of Naul, County Meath, has passed away following injuries received in a tragic accident that occurred at the Clare Motor Club Hillclimb.”

“As a mark of respect the organisers, Clare Motor Club, have cancelled the remainder of the event. Motorsport Ireland and Clare Motor Club extend their heartfelt sympathy to Simon’s family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very sad time,” the organisation said.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.