Tributes have been paid to superbike star Simon Andrews who died today in hospital after a crash in Northern Ireland.
He was riding for the Penz13.com BMW team in the North West 200 race in Northern Ireland at the weekend when the accident happened.
A statement from Vauxhall International, who run the race, said he was given immediate medical care at the trackside before being airlifted to the intensive care unit at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.
He died today with his parents, Stuart and Dee, his girlfriend Lisa and best friend Breakers, by his bedside - and his parents have donated his organs, saying it was what he would have wanted.
His father Stuart paid tribute to the talented rider, who was born in Evesham in Worcestershire, saying he and his wife were very proud of what Simon had accomplished.
– Stuart Andrews
Simon loved road racing and he loved competing at the North West 200.
He has had a motorbike since he was four years old and started racing when he was 16. From that first race Simon progressed to riding for the factory Honda TT Legends team and his mum and I are very proud of his racing achievements.
Road racing was in his blood and Simon preferred the roads to short circuits. He was fully aware of the dangers involved but he loved the challenge that that offered. Simon always said ‘Once you’ve been on the roads there’s nothing else to compare with it.'
Simon made his road racing debut at the North West 200 in 2011. He loved the racing, the relaxed atmosphere and the fans he met there. Simon always said that the North West fans were the most knowledgeable in the world as they knew everything about the sport and the bikes.
Ireland had a special place in his heart as he scored his first ever championship point in a meeting at Mondello Park.
Simon loved children and I always remember how he would kneel down to be at the same height as the kids who asked him for his autograph or picture.
Throughout his career Simon has always been involved with various charities and that is why we have made a donation of his organs today. Simon always wanted that to happen.
North West 200 event director Mervyn Whyte also paid tribute to the man he described as a "superb rider and a great character".
– Event director Mervyn White
“This is a very sad day and I want to offer my condolences to Simon’s family and friends and to his race team.
Simon was a superb rider and a great character in the paddock. He was a huge asset to our race.
It was an absolute pleasure to work with him and he was always very helpful when we asked for his assistance. He will be sadly missed by everyone at the North West 200.