A Hard Road To Follow

A Hard Road To Follow
Tom Oliver made his debut in road racing last weekend at the Cookstown 100 under heart-breaking circumstances.

Tom’s motorcycle racing son Jack Oliver was tragically killed in a fatal Supersport race crash at the Kells Road Races in County Meath last year.

The distraught Oliver family have been trying to come to terms with the passing of their 20yr old son Jack who was tipped as a future star in motorcycle racing.

Tom and his son Jack were more like brothers, and as Jack progressed in the sport, he decided to try pure road racing and enjoyed a successful debut finishing second in the 2021 Armoy Senior Support race.

Jack enjoyed his first road race win last year at the Cookstown 100 senior support class, and life just could not be better as Tom and Jack were so thrilled with their racing success and the friend-ships they were making in the racing paddocks.

The Kells road-race in County Meath took place in June last year, and Jack was again showing signs of promise.

He finished as runner-up Junior Support race and was 10th in the Senior Support event.

Jack also took part in the Kells Supersport race, and then the unthinkable happened when Jack was tragically killed during the race.

The devastated family of the talented young Limavady road racer Jack Oliver have said he has “gained his angel wings” after he died in the accident.

His family confirmed the tragic news on social media, with his brother Robbie saying he died “doing what he loved”.

The Oliver family have inspired and touched the motorcycle racing world since Jack’s death.

Using social media as a platform many other families bereaved of loved ones have been touched by the sheer love and compassion the Oliver family share on FB (Facebook).

News was released recently of this special tribute that Tom was planning to race at this years Cookstown 100 which took the breath away from his family and friends to go road racing at the very track that his son Jack won his first road race.

I met up with Jack’s Dad 54yr old Tom Oliver, minutes before he was preparing to go out and race on the Cookstown 100 race track last weekend.

Tom said “I know many people think I am mad for participating in a road race, especially after my son Jack was recently killed at the Kells road-race last year.

I am doing it because Jack and I talked about doing the Cookstown 100 together before he was killed.

Indeed my heart is broken that we are not doing it together, and it is my way of paying a special tribute to a son I love so much.

I was extremely nervous in practice, but once I started to get dialled in, I realised, like never before, what the buzz of road racing means to every rider that races on the roads.

So, it will be a weekend I will never forget, and special thanks to all my family, supporters and friends who have inspired me to keep Jack Oliver alive in our hearts.”

Tom finished a credible 10th place in the Junior support class during wet weather conditions before racing was abandoned.

Photo’s by Tommy Vennard

Words by Gavan Caldwell
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