Tragic road racer James Cowton was ‘always smiling’

James Cowton at the Miss UGP finals in the Ulster Grand Prix marquee in August 2017
James Cowton at the Miss UGP finals in the Ulster Grand Prix marquee in August 2017

The chairman of the Motor Cycle Union of Ireland (MCUI) has paid tribute to road racer James Cowton, who died following a crash in the Isle of Man on Thursday.

The 25-year-old, from Driffield in Yorkshire, was riding for the Cookstown-based McAdoo Racing team in the 600 Challenge race at the Southern 100 when the fatal accident occurred.

His death came just days after Ballymoney man William Dunlop was killed during practice for the Skerries 100 road races in Dublin.

MCUI (Ulster Centre) chairman, John McAllister expressed his condolences to the rider’s family circle, and said he “will be very sadly missed by all in the racing fraternity here”.

Mr McAllister said: “James was a very popular lad in the paddock in Ireland – very likeable and always smiling. He was very approachable and he always had loads of time for his fans and supporters.”

James, who clinched a major win at the North West 200 in May, had been due to compete at the Armoy Road Races later this month.

Clerk of the course, Bill Kennedy, said James had been a popular competitor at Armoy.

“I knew him as a competitor; he’d raced here four or five times. He came here with his father and stayed in a house in Armoy while the races were on. He was a lovely young man and it’s very sad what’s happened,” he said.

News of the crash which claimed James’ life was posted on the MCUI (Ulster Centre) website on July 12.

“Unfortunately, another tragedy has occurred at the Southern 100 Road Races in the Isle of Man today. James Cowton has sadly succumbed to injuries sustained in a four-rider accident at Stadium Bends. It is also reported that Ivan Linton has been critically injured and Jamie Coward and Mickey Evans have shoulder and leg and arm injuries.

“The Ulster Centre wish to pass on sincere sympathy to James’ family at this very difficult time and our best wishes to all those injured for a good and speedy recovery.”