Record of Investigation into Death (Without Inquest)
Coroners Act 1995
Coroners Rules 2006
I, Robert Pearce, Coroner, having investigated a death of
Clint Anthony WILLCOX
WITHOUT HOLDING AN INQUEST
Find That :
(a) The deceased is Clint Anthony Willcox who died on or about 6 November 2010 at Preolenna Forestry, Wynyard;
(b) Clint Anthony Willcox was born in Burnie on 14 September1985 and was aged 25 years at the time of his death;
(c) Clint Anthony Willcox was a single person whose occupation at the date of death was mineral tester;
(d) Mr Willcox died as a result of blunt trauma of the head sustained in a motorcycle crash.
Circumstances Surrounding the Death :
Clint Anthony Willcox was one of two sons born to Terry and Nita Willcox. At the time of his death he resided with his parents.
Mr Willcox had been riding off road motorcycles since the age of 15. He had been competing in events with the Tasmania Endurance Racing Club (TERC) since 2004. He was described by his father and peers as an extremely capable, smooth and consistent motor bike rider. He had progressed through the ranks of TERC and had won the B-Grade title for 2010. He was to be promoted to A grade in 2011. Mr Willcox owned a KTM 2009 2 exc racing series 300cc Motorcycle. He had purchased the bike new and had travelled just under 4000km on it, most of which was off road.
On Saturday 6 November 2010 Mr Willcox and his father Terry Willcox competed, as a team, in an 8 hour event conducted by TERC at Preolenna on private land. A permit for the event was issued under the provisions of the Police Offences Act 1935. All 115 riders who entered were provided with a briefing regarding track conditions and markings prior to the event. All bikes were scrutinised before the race. All riders were required to wear a minimum standard of protective clothing.
The track is approximately 18.5 km long. Mr Willcox had ridden the same track but in the opposite direction track in 2009 in the same event. The condition of the track was good.
Mr Willcox was on his fifth lap when the crash occurred. During this lap he overtook another rider Ms Emily Flint. Ms Flint moved over to allow him to pass. She recognised him. He shouted "thanks Em" as he passed. Approximately 500 metres along the track Ms Flint saw a bike off the track to her right. She observed the rider lying amongst the ferns about a metre off the track. Ms Flint who is a student nurse stopped her bike to attend to the rider. The rider was Mr Willcox. She flagged down another rider who also stopped to assist. A third rider stopped also but then went to alert paramedics. Mr Willcox was attended by an officer of St Johns Ambulance and then members of Tasmania Ambulance Service. A short time later Mr Willcox showed no signs of life and was pronounced dead.
A post mortem examination conducted by Dr Ritchey, pathologist, found that Mr Willcox died as a result of blunt force trauma of the head from a motorcycle crash.
The circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Wilcox were investigated by members of the accident investigation section of Tasmania Police. The investigating officers concluded that Mr Willcox momentarily lost control of his motorcycle. It left the track. The right side handle bar struck a tree causing Mr Willcox to be thrown from the bike and he hit his head. Mr Willcox’s motorcycle was inspected by the Transport Division. No faults were found that would have caused or contributed to the crash. At the time of the crash Mr Willcox was wearing Australian Standard complaint protective clothing and helmet.
Two other riders were seriously injured in separate crashes whilst taking part in the same event. All three crashes occurred within a 400 metre stretch of the track. Each crash was independent of and unrelated to the other. The other two crashes were attributed to rider error.
Comments & Recommendations :
Off road motor cycle racing, like most forms of motor racing, is an inherently dangerous and risky activity. Although a young man Mr Willcox was an experienced and skilful rider. He had an appreciation of the risk his sport involved. The event he participated in was being conducted in accordance with a permit and in compliance with the permit conditions and applicable safety standards. The evidence indicates that the crash was not caused or contributed to by any mechanical failure or defect, nor by any defect in the track conditions. The track design and conditions were suitable for this type of racing but involve, given the type activity and the nature of the track, risk of serious injury or death to riders.
I would conclude that Mr Willcox died as a consequence of a crash arising from the risks inherent in participating in the sport he enjoyed. No inquest or formal recommendation is necessary.
I would convey my sincere condolences to his family.
DATED: 8 March 2011 at Launceston in Tasmania