A catastrophic crash at a motocross circuit in Besthorpe last month which led the death of an experienced rider was accidental and likely the result of tiredness, an inquest has ruled.
Mark Davis, 51, of Thelnetham, died on Saturday, October 10, after sustaining severe head, neck and chest injuries when he was thrown from a Honda 250cc motorbike at the Besthorpe Motocross and Quad Track.
An inquest at the Norfolk Coroner’s Court in Norwich on Thursday heard how Mr Davis had been sent over the handlebars of his bike following a bad landing from a jump some time around 3.30pm, with no other bikes near him.
He was attended to first by track medic Alan Kennison, then ambulance crews and the East Anglian Air Ambulance, but they were unable to resuscitate him and he was pronounced dead at approximately 4.26pm.
Track manager Mark Brown, giving evidence at the inquest, said although it was the first time Mr Davis had been on a motocross bike for an extended period of time, he was rider with years of experience who was easing back into it at the circuit’s novice level.
“Mark was a good, capable rider. He was jumping just over half of the jumps,” said Mr Brown.
“He got more confident throughout the day. The jump he crashed on, he had been jumping all afternoon.”
Mr Brown’s son Dale, a volunteer track marshal who witnessed the crash and radioed for assistance, said he had replayed the incident in his head for weeks, and thought Mr Davis may have been suffering from arm pump, a known motocross ailment where a rider’s arms become numb as they grip the handlebars for a long time, causing them to lose control.
“He was just like any other rider. He was a little bit slow at first, but you could see he was becoming more comfortable and confident,” he told the inquest.
“The only thing I could put it down to is he was too tired. From holding on too tight, you don’t really have control of your hands because everything just seizes up.”
Jeremy Hadaway, a Breckland Council health and safety inspector, cleared the circuit of any responsibility in Mr Davis’ death when he conducted his initial inspection following the crash, and he reiterated to the inquest the track had been in “remarkably good condition.”
“I concluded the only thing it could be was an error on behalf of the rider. Tiredness does happen,” Mr Hadaway said.