Motorcross racer sues organiser over injuries sustained in crash

It is claimed there was a failure to take adequate precautions to prevent the incident and a failure to appoint competent course marshals

A man who suffered severe injuries when a motorbike allegedly ran over him during an off-road race has brought a High Court action seeking damages.

John Hurley (43) was competing in the motocross race in a field at Portarlington, Co Laois, when another bike allegedly hit him at a bend and he was knocked off. He claims that as he lay on the track another motorbike went over him.

“I blacked out. When I came round there were bikes on the ground around me,” he said.

Mr Hurley, a truck driver, said he suffered fractures to his pelvis and spent several weeks in hospital afterward, as well as months on crutches.

He told Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty he was on his third track race when the crash happened and had ranked in the top three in the other races.

Opening the case, Michael Counihan SC, instructed by Farrell McElwee solicitors, told the court it was their case that if the race event had been properly organised, assessed and run, the crash would not have happened.

Counsel said his side contended that a race marshal should have been at the bend where the crash occurred.

If a marshal was there, a flag would have been raised and the other motocross riders would have stopped or gone around, he said.

Mr Hurley, of Tullow Road, Carlow, has sued the event organiser YMSA Ltd, with an address in Chesterfield, in the UK, over the crash at the off-road event outside Portarlington, Co Laois, on July 19th, 2015.

He claimed there was a failure to take any or any adequate precautions to prevent the crash and a failure to appoint competent and experienced course marshals.

There was a further alleged failure to carry out any proper risk assessment of the area and layout of the track for the event.

Competitors of varying standards of competence, experience and ability were allowed to compete together allegedly without proper grading and segregation, it is further claimed.

YMSA Limited has denied all the claims and contends Mr Hurley was partly responsible in that he allegedly drove his bike in a careless or inattentive manner. It has further alleged that Mr Hurley failed to keep a proper lookout and voluntarily assumed the risk of participating in a bike race.

The case before Ms Justice Gearty continues on Wednesday.