Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Freak motocross tragedy: Man had been cheering on grandson

68-year-old Bruce Honore, pictured with his wife Meri Honore, was killed at the Cambridge Motorcross track when a rider lost control and ploughed into spectators. Photo / Supplied
68-year-old Bruce Honore, pictured with his wife Meri Honore, was killed at the Cambridge Motorcross track when a rider lost control and ploughed into spectators. Photo / Supplied

Bruce Honore and his wife Meri had been at the Cambridge motocross track cheering on their 8-year-old grandson when a bike flew across the barrier tragically killing him and injuring his wife.

The 68-year-old was standing at the top of the track at Rowling Place in Leamington when a 20-year-old bike rider went off the left-hand side of the track up the embankment and into the spectators.

Mr Honore's three adult children - Tanya, Tony and Steve - were today with his heartbroken wife Meri at the couple's Koromatua home remembering the "cool, calm, collected" father-of-three and grandfather-of-four.

His daughter Tanya said her father was not a massive motocross fan, but was at the event on Sunday because he was a big supporter of anything the family did.

"He was just always there. He was a quiet but an amazing dad, husband and grandfather. He was fantastic with the grandkids. He was a very gentle person.

"Just that day he went a long to watch him race and yeah ... He was just a very involved family man. He was a dedicated farmer, a dedicated husband, dad and grandfather."

Mrs Honore had been beside her husband when the motocross bike hit him and had been taken to Waikato Hospital in a serious condition.

She was discharged this afternoon and was still coming to terms with the death of her husband of 43 years.

"Obviously the physical scars will heal. The broken heart will be something different, Mum and Dad did everything together. They were a great team. They had so many common passions and interests. They were avid Chiefs supporters, they were ticketholders so they were always at the rugby. Rain, hail or shine they were at the rugby. He will be sorely missed."

His death came at an extremely sad time as Ms Honore was expecting her first child any day and brother Steve's wife was also due to give birth in the next few weeks so he would just miss meeting his two newest grandchildren.

"He just missed that one unfortunately ... It's a bit of a tough one."

Mr Honore retired in Koromatua last year after running a deer farm in Ngahinapouri, in the Waikato, for 27 years. Prior to that he had run a dairy farm in Waitoki, just north of Auckland. Details of the funeral were still to be confirmed.

The family was now waiting for the outcome of the joint WorkSafe and police investigation.

Waikato police detective Stephen Ambler said it was too soon to comment on exactly what happened including whether the throttle jammed but it would be included in the investigation.

"I've heard that [about the throttle] but until we've done an examination of the bike we're keeping an open mind around the bike, but what we do know is that it has left the track without a rider on it and collided with a number of spectators."

Mr Ambler said it was also too soon to know how fast the bike was travelling, but it was going fast enough on an uphill section to clear the metre-high cloth fence and land on top of the spectators.

"[It's occurred] on an uphill section of the track towards the finish line, a steep uphill right-hand bend with a high embankment on the left-hand side, and the motorcycle has gone off on the left-hand side of the track up the embankment and into the spectators."

Mr Ambler said the fence was made of cloth as it was designed to keep people out of the track, not keep motorcycles in it.

"The motorcycle didn't touch the fence at all, it went right over the fence. It didn't even touch it, it wouldn't have mattered if it was made of reinforced steel ... it's gone up a steep embankment and left the ground completely and [went] into the spectators and unfortunately for them they had no time to react and took the full force of the machine coming out of the track."

The event was a sanctioned motorcycle club event with the participants paying to enter so the crash does not go towards the district's road toll.

"It was a tragedy, horrible for the club, horrible for the rider, horrible for obviously the family of the deceased."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 10 Dec 2016 08:34:51 Processing Time: 572ms