Simon Andrews died from injuries sustained after crashing in the 2014 North West 200 Superstock race. (File photo from 2012 when Andrews named to the Honda TT Legends team.)
A former factory Honda rider at the international road races, Andrews contested this year’s NW200 with the Penz13.com BMW squad. He crashed his BMW at high speed upon the approach to the Metropole corner. The race was red-flagged as Andrews was airlifted to the hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.
“This is a very sad day and I want to offer my condolences to Simon’s family and friends and to his race team,” said North West 200 organizer Mervyn Whyte in a press statement. “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.”
A regular competitor in the British Superbike series, Andrews made his debut on the roads courses in 2011 – competing in both the North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT. Andrews also competed in the Macau Grand Prix, where he garnered his best ever result on the road courses with a third-place finish in 2012.
Andrews would go on to campaign for two years with the Honda TT Legends team next to John McGuinness, where he also participated in World Endurance rounds. Andrews’ tenure with the TT Legends team ended after an accident during last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he broke his leg and had to be placed on a ventilator because of damage to his lung. After recovering from his Le Mans crash, Andrews was slated to race the North West and Isle of Man TT for the Penz13.com team.
The North West 200 press release states that at his death Andrews was attended by his parents. The statement goes on to quotes his father, Stuart, as saying: “Simon loved road racing and he loved competing at the North West 200.”
“He has had a motorbike since he was 4 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.”
Andrews’ crash on Saturday was the second major incident at the North West, with French rider Franck Petricola injured during a Tuesday practice session. Petricola remains in critical condition, also at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
The North West 200, which runs on public roads between the Northern Ireland towns of Coleraine, Portstewart and Portrush, has claimed several fatalities over the years. The most recent death was rider Mark Buckley, who perished in 2012 during the Superstock race.
Efforts have been made to improve safety at the annual road race. The fatality of rider Mark Young in 2009 prompted organizers to introduce a speed-reducing chicane for one of the more lethal sections of the course, Mather’s Cross. The high-speed Mather’s Cross section claimed the life of Young, as well as the North West’s winningest rider, Robert Dunlop, in 2008 and Dunlop’s brother-in-law Mervyn Robinson in 1980.