Simon was gravely injured in an incident on the stretch between Magherabuoy and Portrush during the Superstock race on Saturday 17 May 2014 and was immediately airlifted to the Great Victoria hospital in Belfast.
The 31-year old was competing in the British Superbike Championship aboard the RAF Reserves Honda as well as the International roads meetings at which he had been competing since 2011.
Hailing from Evesham in Worcestershire, Simon began riding at the age of four and later claimed he was “hooked for life” on motorcycle racing when he attended the British Grand Prix as an eight year old.
He was forced to wait until his sixteenth birthday before attaining his license to go racing and after several successful meetings at club level in 1998 and ’99 he progressed to the British Championship a year later.
2002 saw his emergence as one of the country’s most exciting young talents as he competed in the British Supersport series alongside the European Superstock Championship. He scored podium finishes at five events in the UK and points on several occasions on the continent to finish 24th overall, aged just 18.
A year later Simon gained official support from Yamaha UK and the year proved to be the most successful in terms of championship position raced to third place overall in the ultra-competitive national Supersport series with the Red Piranha Racing outfit.
Three years followed in Supersport before he moved into the British Superbike class in 2006 where he put in several impressive rides aboard the Jentin Racing Yamaha in 2008. He comfortably finished ahead of the official Yamaha entry, and was rewarded with the MSS Colchester Kawasaki berth for 2009. There he scored consistent top six finishes on his way to sixth overall in the championship, earning his debut podium in the class at Cadwell Park along the way.
Simon’s upward trajectory through the national racing ranks was blighted by several serious crashes in the following years where Simon sustained career-threatening injuries on several occasions. Yet he always showed incredible resolve and determination to return from each setback.
The first in a series of serious injuries came at Valencia in 2010 where he deputised for Chris Vermeulen in the Kawasaki World Superbike squad. A collision in the second race broke his heel and a year later his leg was run over by another bike at Snetterton. That incident required extensive surgery and it came just weeks after a scintillating TT debut, when he became the fastest newcomer at the event.
Just months later he made a heroic return with the Honda TT Legends Endurance team with his courage winning him plaudits and respect from fans and fellow competitors alike. When road racer Cameron Donald saw the agony Andrews was going through to line up on the grid he commented, “Simon’s phenomenal. I just think, ‘man, he must be riding with some commitment. For what he’s going through with his injuries…there’s some serious respect there,” he told the popular TT Legends TV series.
Having made so much progress with the leg Simon’s 2012 only lasted as long as June when an incident competing at the Isle of Man TT put him out of action for that year and an unfortunate incident at the Le Mans 24-hour race again prematurely ended 2013.
Speaking of his remarkable will power to continue fighting for fitness he said, “Racing’s such a drug. You can’t just turn your back on it. I’d never walk away. It’s just made me appreciate things more. I’m fortunate enough to make enough money to make a living out of it. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Simon was still undeterred and returned to full fitness for 2014, which he celebrated by announcing a welcome return to BSB competition with the RAF Reserves Honda outfit, with whom he had competed in several Superstock 1000 races a year earlier.
In addition, he planned to compete at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT with the Penz13.com BMW squad to build on the promise of his burgeoning road racing career. Tragically these plans would not come to fruition.
Sadly Simon was killed racing in Belfast at the NW200 in May 2014.
A testament to the man himself, a tribute lap was organised to take place on Mad Sunday at the Isle Of Man TT the following month. Thousands of riders took part in the procession to pay their respects, this was organised by Mark Walls in conjunction with the IOM Constabulary and Terry Holmes.
The lap was held again in June 2015 and is now named The Simon Andrews Legacy Lap. The lap, although named after Simon, it is to remember all fallen riders who have lost their lives to the sport they loved so much. Respect to them all.
They are desperately missed. x