Club faces six-figure fine over wheelie accident

Court hears how racer lost leg after competitor wheelies into him

DERBY PHOENIX motorcycle club faces having to pay a six-figure compensation settlement to a biker who lost a leg in an accident at one of its events.

Tony Norman, 30, of Essex, suffered devastating injuries when he was struck by another competitor who had just pulled a wheelie at Lincolnshire's Cadwell Park circuit.

Race organisers, Derby Phoenix Motorcycle Club, was yesterday refused permission by London's Civil Appeal Court to appeal against an earlier court ruling that said, had marshals been in place to point competitors down a cut-through at the race, the accident would have been avoided.

Mr Norman, who had ridden competitively since the age of 16, had to have his leg amputated below the knee after he was hit by leading rider Michael Goodings on August 10 2003. The Appeal Court heard that the event had been stopped three times because of oil on the track and competitors waiting on the grid had been told to head back to the paddock for an early lunch.

Mr Norman went off first and, as he moved to turn right into a cut-through, about 180 yards from the grid leading to the paddock, Mr Goodings' bike struck him. The Club's counsel argued that it was not responsible for the tragedy.

Anthony Barker QC said the accident would never have happened had it not been for the recklessness of Mr Goodings, from Doncaster, who he said "pulled a wheelie" at over 60mph. Lord Justice Tuckey and Lord Justice Rimer refused Derby Phoenix Motorcycle Club permission to appeal against an earlier county court ruling, which means it is now fully liable to compensate Mr Norman. The Club was initially ruled liable to damages by Judge Inglis at Birmingham Crown Court in April this year.

David Smith, chairman of Derby Phoenix Motorcycle Club, said:

"The Club's future will not be affected by this as we are fully covered by insurance."