First Lions TT called off early after rider hurt in crash
THE first Lions Tourist Trophy Motorcycle Festival had to be closed early yesterday after a participant was seriously injured in a crash.
Police said emergency services were called to the Lions Road at Gradys Creek after a motorcyclist participating in the event left the road and crashed into a fence.
The motorcyclist, a 52-year-old man was taken to Lismore Base Hospital with fractures to his left leg and ribs as well as internal injuries.
Police said they spoke with representatives of Kyogle Council and event organisers, who chose to close the event early.
The incident marred what had been an outstanding start to the festival, which had drawn more than 200 participants with the aim of raising funds for the maintenance and improvement of the community-built Lions Road.
Speaking on Saturday, event organiser Mark Luxford said the Lions TT would raise money for improvements to road conditions and safety on Lions Rd, which runs from Rathdowney, Queensland, along Running Creek Rd, on the way to Kyogle.
"Our mission is to create a motorcycling enthusiast's event that brings great economic opportunities to the region and raises the profile and safety of the Lions Rd for the next 50 years," he said.
Mr Luxford said more than 200 entrants from as far as Sydney and the Sunshine Coast took part in the non-competitive event.
He said Saturday's 41.8km course ran from Rathdowney to Kyogle, with riders traversing the road in reverse on Sunday.
From Triumphs to Harley Davidsons, Aprilias, BMWs, Yamahas, and Kawasakis, hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts lined Kyogle's streets for the event.
The polished chrome and gleaming paint of the hundreds of motorcycles drew enthusiasts and admirers from as far as Sydney.
Kyogle businesses were buzzing as festival-goers packed the pavements.
More than 30 tents filled Kyogle Showground as participants from far and wide stayed overnight to enjoy the TT.
Sprint events, which were moved to Casino airport, also proved popular with entrants and spectators.
Mates Daniel Sawtell and Ben Greenslade, of Brisbane, both camped at Kyogle Showground so they could take part on both days of the TT.
"The road is rough but interesting; it makes for a good ride but you have to be very aware of the dangers," Mr Greenslade said.
"It's good to have events like this. It's not about speed, it's about motorcycle enthusiasts getting together for a festival."
Don Merrotsy travelled from Maclean to see the Lions TT and was very impressed.
"It was a long time coming, and it's about time too," he said.
Lismore police Inspector Matt Johnson said there was a heavy police presence around Rathdowney, Kyogle and Casino for the event.
"The riders have self regulated and we experienced some appropriate rider behaviour at the end of the closed section of Lions Rd at Ripples on the Creek," he said.
"Police will debrief after the TT with event organisers and the Kyogle council."