28 Jan 2014

Call for safer fences at bike tracks

9:16 pm on 28 January 2014

A coroner says inflatable air fences should be provided for motorbike race tracks, but Motorcycling New Zealand says the barriers are too expensive.

At an inquest into the death of a 19-year-old racer, Richard McElrea recommended safety features including an inflatable air fence, rather than tyre safety barriers.

Cameron Jones died from head injuries after crashing at Timaru International Motor Raceway just in January 2010.

Mr Jones had been travelling about 230km/h to 250km/h on a warm-up lap when he lost control of his bike and hit a tyre barrier about 70km/h. He died in Christchurch Hospital 26 days later.

Mr McElrea says the safety measures in place did not match the advanced technology of the bikes.

Motorcycling New Zealand president Jim Tuckerman says an air fence is a very effective safety barrier - but to afford it the sport needs funding from trusts, which they are seeking.

Mr Tuckerman says air fencing is very expensive at about $70,000 per 70 to 80 metres.

For the time being, Motorcycling New Zealand is using wool bales filled with plastic milk containers, which effectively do the same job, he says.