HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to motorcycle racer Bob Price who died at the Isle of Man TT races on Monday.
An experienced Mountain Course rider, Mr Price, 65, was killed on lap three of the Supersport 1 Race at Ballaugh.
“He was very popular,” said Hazel Redding, step-grandmother to Quedgeley MotoGP star Scott Redding. “My husband Fred was his mechanic going back 40 years. Bob has been going to the Island for many years and was a very experienced rider. This is most unexpected.
“It’s very sad for us because we have known him for such a long while but we are thinking of his family at this time.”
Sponsor and friend of 40 years Graham Papps of SP Electrical in Stroud said Mr Price pursued his passion on a shoestring.
“He was a great rider and gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people,” he said. “We shall miss him very much. It’s the privateers like Bob who I admire. He did it on a shoestring and got results. To us he was a champion.”
Tsingtao Kawasaki rider Dan Cooper, 27, said: “I am gutted to hear about fellow Stroud rider Bob Price. I was only chatting to him minutes before the race about how chuffed he was to have qualified for the TT. God speed. You were doing what you loved.”
A car body repair shop owner with a workshop in Chalford, he was an experienced road racer who first competed at the TT Races in 1992 and competed regularly in the Manx Grand Prix (now Classic TT) too.
Highlights of his Mountain Course career included third place in the Manx GP Junior Classic in 2002 and runner up position in the same year in the Senior Classic. He also achieved third place in the 2004 Junior Classic Manx GP and took part in last year's inaugural Classic TT Races.
He was a familiar face at motorcycle dealership BVM Moto in Stroud and his skills with paintwork and bodywork were widely respected. Former BVM worker Bob Miles said his nickname was Dicer but he rode without taking chances.
“We went to watch him on the Island and he was so smooth you would hardly notice him,” said Bob. “He was a lovely guy.”
Former British motorcycle trials champion Steve Saunders, from Cheltenham knew him well too.
“Bob was a great guy, he loved his racing,” said Steve.
Kingsholm Supporters Mutual chairman Bob Rumble knew Mr Price when his workshop was in Griffin Mill, Thrupp.
“He was a very determined and focused man and he paid great attention to detail in whatever he did,” said Mr Rumble.
Former racer George Ridgeon, from Churchdown, said: “I’m very sad to hear of Bob’s death and I express my sympathies to his family. Motorcycling is a dangerous sport but whenever one of us died I feel like I’ve lost a member of my family.
“He died doing what he loved most. I rode against him in the early 1980s and he was a very competitive rider. If he could get in front of you he could.
“If you ever had a problem he would help you out, even as an opponent. He rode hard, raced hard and enjoyed life hard.”
The Isle of Man coroner of inquests has been informed and an investigation into the circumstances of the accident is under way.