The biking world came to a standstill on Tuesday evening as several hundred motorcyclists took to the roads to bring home Dr John Hinds.
Crowds gathered at the starting line of the Tandragee 100 route and, just after six, the muted whirring of engines could be heard across the fields.
Spectators, dressed in leathers and plain clothes alike, stepped up to the roadside to await the arrival of a man who - like them - had attended numerous road race meetings both north and south of the border. The engines grew louder, and the first of the motorcycles appeared - bearing Dr Fred MacSorley and Dr John Hinds’ partner, Dr Janet Acheson, ahead of the hearse.
Dr Hinds volunteered alongside Dr MacSorley as a ‘flying doctor’ for over a decade, often providing life-saving medical care to the motorcyclists who now paid tribute to him. The Tandragee 100 route was known to many as Dr Hinds’ favourite race track and, three days after losing his life at the Skerries 100, his friends, family and admirers applauded him along these familiar roads one final time.
Known for his extraordinary skill and compassionate care, Dr Hinds had formed close bonds with those he tended to on the race track - possessing a flair for motorcycling which set him in high esteem with the professionals. On Tuesday evening, the two spheres in which he moved with such energy united in his memory, with motorcyclists and members of the emergency services breaking down amidst the loss of a hero.
“There are maybe only a couple of people in the country who did what he did,” said Dr MacSorley, “but none of them were prepared to do it at the side of a ditch.
“John had an extraordinary level of skill and he took those very unique and highly advanced skills he would use in critical care in hospital to the side of the road.”
A several hundred-strong cortège, and spectators from as far as Cork, hinted at just how far Dr Hinds’ lifelong work stretched.