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Mystery of rider's fatal last actions

PUBLISHED: 09:27 26 January 2009 | UPDATED: 21:24 07 July 2010

Questions remain over why an “excellent, experienced” motorcyclist suddenly slowed down in the middle of a race track prompting his own death.

Engineer Philip Pall, 48, died in a three bike smash at a Snetterton track day in August, an inquest heard on Friday.

Questions remain over why an “excellent, experienced” motorcyclist suddenly slowed down in the middle of a race track prompting his own death.

Engineer Philip Pall, 48, died in a three bike smash at a Snetterton track day in August, an inquest heard on Friday.

The jury at the Norwich hearing returned a verdict of accidental death after being told how the father-of-three, from Oakham, Rutland, who had been told he was of a high enough standard to race professionally, had come to a near standstill on the track.

He and other motorcyclists were exiting a bend onto a straight stretch leading up to the start/finish line ready for another lap of the circuit on the morning of August 1 last year.

But Mark Hughes, riding behind him, came out of the bend and began to speed up for the straight to suddenly find he was nearly on top of Mr Pall.

Mr Hughes said there was no time to do anything other than brake sharply before the pair collided only a second later. CCTV footage played to the jury showed they were lifted from their bikes several feet in the air before both landed on the track.

Another rider coming out of the bend then hit Mr Pall who died instantly from multiple injuries. Nothing was found to be wrong with his bike.

Sarah Cawston, a senior environmental health officer at Breckland council who took the stand as an independent expert witness, said an investigation found both Snetterton and track day organisers Hottrax had carried out all the necessary safety procedures and that no-one else was at fault.

She said the incident was caused by “human error”, adding: “Mr Pall was either static or very slowing moving on the track and became an unexpected hazard to riders behind him.”

Mr Pall's wife Sharon told the inquest how her husband had been to Snetterton five or six times a year for at least the past five years and had been riding track bikes since 17.

“Although he rode very fast he was considered very safe,” she said. “I struggle with the concept that he was going very slow when he would have been very aware of having motorbikes behind him, I don't understand that aspect at all.”


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