When Richard Britton lost his life at the new Ballybunion Road Races on Sunday, the sport he had devoted his life to lost one of itís most loyal and talented servants.
Richard was one of the most naturally gifted riders of his generation, spending a decade racing at the highest levels of road racing winning at national races throughout Ireland and tasting international success at the North West 200 winning the 2000 Production Race. He was a double Irish and Ulster road race champion and he also won the Regal 600cc series on four occasions and was a podium finisher at both the Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix.
The maverick Eniskillen rider was the fans favourite and the peoples champion in Ireland. He was ever cheerful with a quick wit and lived for his racing. He loved his racing. It didnít always matter to him whether or not he won or came tenth; as long as he was on his bike he was having fun, much like his hero the great Joey Dunlop. He went about his business the way he wanted and wouldnít be pressurised into doing something he didnít agree with. He wasnít a big trainer; he once told us that he went to the gym once but it nearly killed him; but it was that carefree attitude which harked back to a more laid back time in road racing, which made Richard stand out, and which made him so popular with the fans and with his rivals.
As good as Richard was at racing motorcycles, he was better at being a father and a husband. Little Loris is almost as well known around the paddocks of Ireland as his daddy was, and Richard doted on his little rascal. He was just as dedicated to his wife Maria and never went anywhere without his wedding ring. In 2004 his finger swelled up at the TT and his wedding ring was hurting him and he had to take it off. He wouldnít race without it though and attached it to his dog tags as he headed out for another encounter with the Mountain Circuit.
Thoughts go out to Maria, Loris and the family circle at this time.
Are we there yet?