Thursday 18 January 2018

Motorsport hero 'relished every moment' with his son

Motorsport driver Simon McKinley was a hero and idol to newcomers to the sport, his funeral ceremony heard.

Large crowds attended the event to celebrate Simon's life at the Seamus Ennis Centre, in the Naul, Co Dublin yesterday.

The 34-year-old tragically lost his life in an accident while competing in the first event of this year's competition in Ballyvaughen, Co Clare last Saturday.

His coffin was adorned with his trophies, his helmet and roses, as fellow motorsport drivers provided a guard of honour.

Mr McKinley was a four-time reigning Irish Hillclimb and Sprint Champion, while his wife Deirdre (34) has won the fastest lady award several times in recent years.

Deirdre outlined some of the happy memories the couple had together.

"In 2011 we designed and built our home together having such a laugh along the way," she said.

The following year, while they were on a "magic" road trip abroad, Simon asked her to marry him and they married six months later.

In 2013, they found out their baby was on the way, and last year Rory arrived happy and healthy, she said.

"Simon relished every moment with him," Deirdre said.

They competed at an event in Luxembourg, in a three-week adventure with their best friends, she recalled.

"We called it our trip of a lifetime, we knew it was a trip of a lifetime. Our little family had so much fun together," Deirdre said.

"So 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 for him," she added.

Meanwhile, Simon's friend Rory Stephens said that he was a very modest person.

"Simon's attitude to life was you do your best, you go as hard as you can and if people like you for it, sure that was a bonus," he said.


"He never did anything specifically to impress anyone. But oh my God, did he impress in motorsports and more importantly in life," said Mr Stephens.

"What most impressed me about Simon was the support and encouragement he gave to newcomers to the sport.

"He was their hero and their idol and he gave them so much help and support."

The deceased man's dad Peter McKinley described his son as "a wonderful person".

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