THE family of a Leeds businessman with a passion for motorbikes has paid tribute to the “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 contest at Elvington airfield in York last April, Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard.
But tragedy struck on his fourth and final lap when a bearing failure caused the gearbox to seize up on his modified racing bike at 74 miles-an-hour, causing the 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 1300 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, who grew up in Wortley and lived at Upton near Pontefract, 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.
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.”
West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Mr Foster, was grandfather to eight year-old Madison Coyle. 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.
“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 rather than sat in his chair. He used to say what a miserable way to go that would be.”