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Saturday 10 December 2016

'He relished every moment with his family' - motor racing champion Simon McKinley laid to rest

General view of coffin of Simon McKinley being carried from The Seamus Ennis Centre to the graveyard. Simon's wife Deirdre carrying their son Rory, behind left. Naul, Co. Dublin
General view of coffin of Simon McKinley being carried from The Seamus Ennis Centre to the graveyard. Simon's wife Deirdre carrying their son Rory, behind left. Naul, Co. Dublin
General view of coffin of Simon McKinley being carried from The Seamus Ennis Centre to the graveyard. Simon's wife Deirdre carrying their son Rory, behind left. Naul, Co. Dublin
General view of coffin of Simon McKinley being carried from The Seamus Ennis Centre to the graveyard. Simon's wife Deirdre carrying their son Rory, behind left. Naul, Co. Dublin
Simon McKinley with his 11-month-old son Rory McKinley and his wife Deirdre in his Radical Sr8 racing car

Motor racing champion Simon McKinley (34) was a "hero and an idol" to people in the sport, his funeral ceremony was told today.

Mr McKinley's remains were brought to the Seamus Ennis Centre in Naul village this morning for the ceremony to celebrate his life which was officiated by humanist celebrant Brian Whiteside.

His coffin was adorned with white and red roses, trophies he had won over his prestigious career and his racing helmet.

A guard of honour was provided by his friends from the world of motor racing. They had travelled from all over the country.

His widow Deirdre told mourners that Simon proposed to her in 2012 and they were married six months later.

Their son Rory arrived in 2014. "Simon relished every moment with him," she said.

McKinleys.jpg  

Deirdre, referred to some of the many trips they had enjoyed with their hill climbing friends.

"Knowing how happy he has been is giving me comfort and I hope that by sharing this, it does the same for everyone who cared about him," she said.

Rory Stephens, a friend a fellow hill climber said that Simon had three great loves, his family, hill climbing and having a laugh.

"What most impressed me was the support and encouragement he gave to newcomers in the sport. He was their hero and their idol and he gave them so much support, Mr  Stephens said.

He said that Simon was  a very modest  person. "He impressed in motorsport and in life," he said

The dad-of-one was killed when his car crashed during an event in Clare last Saturday. Despite the best efforts of event emergency crews, Mr McKinley died at the scene.

The four times reigning Irish Hillclimb and Sprint Champion, Mr McKinley had been taking part in the Clare Motor Club Hill climb.

Simon and his wife Deirdre had been dubbed "Ireland's fastest family" due to his record, and Deirdre's as one of the highest ranking motorists in the world.

Just two weeks ago, the Herald spoke with Mr McKinley and his wife about their mutual love of motorsport. The couple have an 11 month old son Rory.

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