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Tributes paid to rally driver (34) killed in Clare crash

The remainder of the event has been cancelled as a mark of respect to Simon McKinley.

Simon, pictured with his wife Deirdre and their young son last week.
Simon, pictured with his wife Deirdre and their young son last week.

Updated at 3.40pm

GARDAÍ ARE INVESTIGATING the death of a competitor at a rally event in Co Clare yesterday afternoon.

The 34-year-old man, who has been named by Motorsport Ireland as driver Simon McKinley, was involved in a crash at around 5.30pm.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, a garda spokesperson confirmed.

Motorsport Ireland said in a statement it “deeply regrets that competitor Simon McKinley of Naul, County Meath, has passed away”.

The crash happened at the Clare Motor Club Hillclimb event (a ‘hillclimb’ is a race where drivers compete against the clock to finish an uphill course).

The statement continued:

“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.

Just last week, Simon – accompanied by his wife Deirdre, who is also a rally driver, and their 11-month-old son – appeared at a media event at Dublin’s Mansion House to promote the event.

Tributes

Simon’s performances behind the wheel have racked up hundreds of thousands of views on Youtube in recent years.

A statement from Mondello Park said he was “always an exciting and popular addition to any event he competed in” at the Kildare track.

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“He will be sadly missed by Irish Motorsport and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Other fans and motorsport figures have also been posting their tributes to the driver.

A post-mortem examination is expected to take place at University Hospital Limerick later today.

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Daragh Brophy

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