A SCOTTISH quad biker has been killed in a horrific accident while racing in a European competition in Italy.
Connor Smith, 19, from Arran, suffered fatal multiple injuries after falling from his quad bike and then being hit several times by other riders in the race yesterday.
Paramedics were immediately on the scene and the event was stopped as emergency crews battled to save his life and he was taken to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead.
Connor was killed in the first race of the European Quad of Nations championships which were being held in Cingoli near Ancona, in central Italy.
He had arrived at the weekend event last Friday with team mates Paul Holmes and Luke Cooper and they had been among the favourites to win.
Because of funding difficulties, only a small team had been entered in the race and earlier this month an appeal had gone out for sponsorships via UK quad bike websites.
Besides Connor, an Italian rider Filippo Rondinini, 27, was also injured in the pile-up and he was taken to hospital but his condition was not described as serious.
After the death was announced to the crowd a message was read out from his father which said: “My son Connor died taking part in a sport he loved. He was representing the colours of his nation.”
Connor’s father Bill is managing director of the Filtec water treatment firm, based in Irvine, Ayrshire.
As the message was read out fans applauded and fellow riders gathered to hold a prayer vigil before the race was cancelled.
A police spokesman said they were investigating the accident to establish whether all safety procedures had been implemented and to decide whether anyone should face criminal charges if they were breached.
An entry on the Facebook page of Quad Scotland yesterday read: “Connor Smith RIP”.
“Deeply saddened and shocked to learn today of the tragic loss of Connor Smith, our 2013 Champion; a great friend, committed competitor and huge inspiration to quad riders young and old, in Scotland and beyond.”
Islanders on Arran told of their shock and grief when they learned the tragic news.
Former classmate at Arran High School, Bobbi Adamson fought back tears as she said: “I couldn’t believe it when I was told. It is just so awful – another young life has gone far too soon.
“Connor was an outgoing and chatty boy – a really popular guy at school.”
Islander Jenny Lyon added: “Connor had been involved in quad biking for a long time and he had the full backing of his family. The news is just awful and it will be felt extra keenly in a small rural community like this.”