“Racing grandad” died after high speed crash

Anthony Foster died when taking part in speed trials.
Anthony Foster died when taking part in speed trials.

The family of a pensioner with a passion for motorbikes has paid tribute to their “racing grandad” who died after a high-speed crash at a time trial competition.

Experienced biker Anthony Foster, 63, had reached a top speed of 224 miles-an-hour during one of three laps at a fastest mile speed contest at Elvington airfield in York last April, Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard.

Without his bike he wouldn’t have been Tony. It was literally everything to him.

Rachael Coyle, step-daughter

But tragedy struck on his fourth and final lap when a bearing failure caused the gearbox to seize up on his modified racing bike as Mr Foster was travelling at 74 miles-an-hour.

The inquest heard the gearbox seizure caused the bike’s rear wheel to lock.

Mr Foster, who was managing director of Morley-based cash register sales company Independent Equipment, was catapulted off the turbocharged Suzuki GSXR 300 Hayabusa machine before sliding around 20 metres across the track.

He suffered severe head and chest injuries and was flown to Leeds General Infirmary by air ambulance following the crash at the Auto Cycle Union Straightliners Top Speed Tuesday event on April 22 last year.

Mr Foster, of Thistle Drive, Upton, was placed on life support at the hospital’s neurological intensive care unit, but he did not regain consciousness and died on May 20 after the life support unit was switched off.

The inquest heard Mr Foster had stopped riding road bikes two years previously, but maintained his passion for racing bikes.

Mr Foster’s partner Christine Coyle said in a statement to police: “The loss of Tony, a father and grandfather has devastated us all. The gap that Tony’s death has left will never be filled.”

A post mortem revealed Mr Foster, who was grandfather to eight year-old Madison Coyle, died from traumatic head and chest injuries.

West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff recorded a verdict of accidental death.

After the inquest, Mr Foster’s step-daughter and Madison’s mother Rachael Coyle, 26, of Ackworth, said: “He had a lifelong passion for motorbikes.

“Without his bike he wouldn’t have been Tony. It was literally everything to him.

“His personal best was 229.2 miles-an-hour. We called him the racing grandad. The officials at all his races called him the fastest grandad.

“He was a gentleman and a humble person.

“Whenever we spoke about death he always said he would rather go on his bike than sat in his chair.

“He used to say what a miserable way to go that would be.”