Eugene Laverty raced with a special replica helmet to pay tribute to Dr John Hinds in Sunday’s German MotoGP race at the Sachsenring.
Laverty, who finished outside the points on the Aspar Honda Open class machine in 17th position, one place behind team-mate Nicky Hayden, was also aiming to raise awareness of the campaign for an emergency medical helicopter in Northern Ireland.
Dr Hinds, who was tragically killed following an accident at the Skerries 100 near Dublin last weekend, was a driving force behind the campaign.
Laverty said: “Shoei made a one-off helmet and I wore it during the race as a tribute to John because he was a big hero to all of us back home.
“I met John in 2010 and he was always on hand to help me if I needed any scans or advice and coming from Ireland
“I have lots of friends who race on the roads and he saved a lot of their lives by being straight on the scene.
“I had a lot of time for him but also it’s important to support HEMS [Helicopter Emergency Medical Service] for NI. I want to help raise awareness for that and the petition already has over 45,000 signatures and that was something that he worked very hard for.”
Eugene’s older brother Michael, who was racing at the Sachsenring after being brought in as a replacement for Marco Melandri in the Gresini Aprilia team, said Dr Hinds was ‘a terrific guy’.
“I had heard a lot about John before we met, his reputation preceded him,” said the Tyco BMW British Superbike rider, who finished 20th.
“He was an absolutely terrific guy who saved the lives of a number of my friends in his role as travelling doctor.
“John’s personality endeared him to everyone he met, his passion for motorcycling combined with his renowned talent as a doctor made him an icon in the motorcycling world.”