Biker killed in grand prix practice

By John HowardA MOTORCYCLIST from Suffolk has been killed during a practice session for a grand prix on the Isle of Man.Geoff Sawyer, a 55-year-old interpreter from the Ipswich area, lost control of his 500cc Classic Matchless bike while practising for the Manx Grand Prix.

By John Howard

A MOTORCYCLIST from Suffolk has been killed during a practice session for a grand prix on the Isle of Man.

Geoff Sawyer, a 55-year-old interpreter from the Ipswich area, lost control of his 500cc Classic Matchless bike while practising for the Manx Grand Prix.

Mr Sawyer was a regular competitor in the event, having competed in 33 previous races and winning seven silver replicas, including finishing in 12th place in last year's Junior and Senior Classic races.


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He died pursuing a sport he loved on an island that is known to host one of the most treacherous challenges for riders, testing even experienced motorcyclists to the limit.

Ray Walters, chairman of Orwell Motorcycles, Ipswich, described Mr Sawyer's death as a real loss and said his thoughts were with his family.

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“It is one of the risks of the Isle of Man, it seems to catch someone each year. It's a real test of skill there and we have lost some good people. It's an adrenaline rush to do the circuit, it takes a brave man to ride it,” he said.

“Some of it's a very testing circuit, a road circuit and bikes whiz through small towns and villages and across moors at breakneck speeds, although some of the older boys go to ride a bit slower and just enjoy themselves.

“His death is a great loss for the sport. This is so sad, a tragedy. Everyone in the sport will be thinking of his family at this time, it's a very sad loss.”

The Manx Motor Cycle Club, organisers of the Manx Grand Prix, expressed its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Mr Sawyer following Wednesday's fatal accident.

The veteran biker, who is believed to have been involved in the motorbiking world for years, is thought to have worked as an interpreter for the European Parliament, specialising in French and German.

Mr Sawyer's family was not available for comment last night.

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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