Inquest told that 'loving and caring' Fareham dad died in crash during 110mph race on A27
A ‘LOVING and caring’ dad with a ‘wicked sense of humour’ died after taking part in a high-speed, spur-of-the-moment road race on his motorbike, an inquest has heard.
Teacher Tim Ford was riding his 600cc Honda when he and Stuart Donnelly become involved in a race along the A27 Southampton Road, in Titchfield, on May 24, 2019.
Setting off from the Segensworth roundabout to Fareham, the pair accelerated along the road, hitting speeds of about 110mph along the 40mph stretch of the A27.
But within seconds of the race beginning, tragedy struck as Mr Ford clipped a kerb attempting to overtake Mr Donnelly’s Nissan 370z sports car.
The impact flung the 40-year-old rider, of Chamberlain Grove, Fareham, off his bike and skidding along the eastbound highway and into the opposing carriageway, where he collided with a Skoda Fabia driven by horrified mum Nadine Bolina.
Mr Ford died instantly in the crash, a hearing at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard, leaving his grieving family devastated.
Mr Ford’s heartbroken mum, Lynne Ford, said she had been left facing ‘sleepless nights’ and had a ‘meltdown’ at the loss of her son.
In a statement read out by coroner Christopher Wilkinson, Mrs Ford said: ‘No mother expects to outlive their children. Tim was larger than life itself and he was an emotional rock. He laughed with me, cried with me - tormented the life out of me - and was always there when I needed him.
‘Tim was very caring and a loving person with a wicked sense of humour. A room would light up in his presence.
‘His wife Angie lost not only her loving and caring husband but also her best friend and soulmate.
‘(His son) Tyler has lost a father that he looked up to and will never again have the father-son conversations that he cherished at an important time of his life.’
The inquest heard that Mr Ford and Mr Donnelly had been spotted racing shortly before 5.55pm.
Witness Matthew Sass was directly behind the pair while at the roundabout and described seeing the two ‘speed off very quickly’ when the lights turned green.
‘My thought was that they were definitely racing,’ he said in a statement read out in court. ‘There didn’t seem to be any indication between them. The engine noise from both of them was so loud. They floored it from the lights.
‘The next thing I heard was a massive crashing noise.’
Police investigators said Nadine Bolina, driver of the Skoda that colided with Mr Ford, had ‘no time to react’ to the accident, which all took place in about a second and a half.
A post-mortem examination found Mr Ford died instantly of multiple traumatic injuries. Toxicology results revealed no presence of any alcohol or drugs in his system that would have contributed to the crash.
PC Andrew Daw, a forensic crash investigator, said Mr Ford and Mr Donnelly had been travelling at approximately 110mph moments before the fatal crash.
He said: ‘Mr Ford was riding at excessive speed and appears to be racing with a Nissan 370z coupe being driven by Mr Stuart Donnelly.
‘Both Mr Ford and Mr Donnelly appeared to have driven their vehicles in this manner of their own volition.
‘Mr Ford was attempting to pass the Nissan when he struck the off-side kerb of the central reservation. He has been unseated by this impact.
‘Mr Ford and his motorbike travelled then into the opposing carriage way, sliding on the road surface.
‘Mr Ford slid head-first into the approaching Skoda being driven by Mrs Bolina, who would have had insufficient time to react.
‘Mr Ford has suffered fatal injuries being struck with the front off-side of the Skoda.
‘In conclusion, this collision centres on Mr Ford as the rider of his motorcycle. He has made the decision to ride it at excessive speed and failed to negotiate a bend in the road.’
Recording a conclusion of accidental death, coroner Christopher Wilkinson said: ‘We will probably never know why exactly he made this decision to do what he did.
‘It doesn’t appear, from the evidence we have heard, there was any communication between the pair. It seems there was an unspoken acknowledgement.
‘We know he was a lover of his motorcycle. And whilst we can’t fully establish exactly what had gone through his mind that evening, bearing in mind that by all other accounts he was an accomplished and safe rider.’