A KEEN biker who died after a head-on crash in Portsmouth is believed to have been speeding at the time of the smash, an inquest has heard.
Lewis Holmes, 24, had been travelling along James Callaghan Drive at Portsdown Hill with a friend when his Suzuki SV650 hit a Vauxhall Astra.
An inquest at Guildhall heard how the IT analyst from Southampton had been overtaking three mopeds on a left hand bend and was in the opposite carriageway when he crashed.
The force of the collision launched Mr Holmes from his bike, which burst into flames destroying the bike and car.
Michelle Reader was travelling in the Astra with her husband Matthew, mother and niece, when the bike hit their car.
Describing the harrowing moment of the impact, she said: ‘We heard this massive bang and then, literally in seconds, the car had set on fire.’
Husband Matthew said he struggled to evacuate the blazing car as his driver’s side door was jammed.
In a statement read our in court, Matthew added: ‘There was absolutely nothing I could have done to avoid the impact. I wish it had never have happened.’
The crash occurred at about 6.30pm, with the road conditions and visibility being described as ‘good’ by police.
Despite extensive efforts by paramedics and doctors to revive the 24-year-old, he was pronounced dead at Queen Alexandra Hospital at 7.40pm.
Tests revealed Mr Holmes did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system when he crashed.
Several witnesses told the hearing in Portsmouth they had seen the biker travel past them and believed he was going well over the 40mph speed limit.
Anthony Johnson, a collision investigator with Hampshire Constabulary, estimated the Astra to be doing just under 40mph at the time of the crash while the Suzuki doing a minimum of 46mph.
Coroner David Horsley offered his deepest condolences to the family but said there was no way the driver could have avoided the collision.
Concluding a verdict of accidental death, Mr Horsley added: ‘A split second either way and quite clearly this collision wouldn’t have occurred.
‘Lewis simply misjudged the road.’
In a statement, Mr Holmes’ family said: ‘Lewis was a loving, thoughtful son, partner and brother.
‘He was loved and respected by friends and colleagues.
‘He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.’