ULSTER GP: Last lap for highly regarded travelling doctor Fred MacSorley

Dr Fred MacSorley will hang up his leathers after 30 years to motorcycle racing at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix on Saturday.
Dr Fred MacSorley will hang up his leathers after 30 years to motorcycle racing at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix on Saturday.

Travelling doctor Fred MacSorley MBE will hang up his leathers after Saturday's MCE Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod.

The highly-regarded GP from Lurgan will be honoured with a parade lap after the roads close at 9.30am on Saturday morning.

Dr John Hinds was killed in a crash at the Skerries 100 in 2015.

Dr John Hinds was killed in a crash at the Skerries 100 in 2015.

Known in motorcycling circles simply as ‘Dr Fred’, he undoubtedly saved many lives during the 30 years of service he has given to the sport.

MacSorley will lead the lap with his wife Dr Alex Magee riding pillion, followed by the entire medical team and every competitor in tomorrow’s races.

“I have mixed emotions about retiring,” he said.

“It has been a massive part of my life and I will miss it hugely. It has been such a huge privilege to be part of the motorcycling community, and an absolute honour to have looked after, in my opinion, some of the greatest sports people in the world.

“The last 30 years have been wonderful. I’ve seen the goodness of human nature; how people deal with both success and tragedy with dignity and the unbelievable support that this community offers to its members,” he added.

“And of course, on our part it has been a team effort from the vans, the paramedics, the doctors, Jan Simm and her team, the chaplains; we can’t function without the full line up.”

Dr Fred also paid tribute to his colleague Dr John Hinds, who was tragically killed on duty killed following an accident at the Skerries 100 in 2015.

“I can’t talk about the team without paying tribute to Dr John Hinds. He joined us as a student and his brilliance was immediately obvious,” he said.

“We asked him to come back when he qualified and he was one of the most extraordinarily talented, generous and hard-working doctors I have had the privilege of working with.

“His legacy will live on for many years to come and I hope he’s proud of the way the team continued in the aftermath of his untimely death.”

Dr MacSorley, who officially retired from his role as GP in April, is handing over the baton to a team of three paramedics including his son, Allister MacSorley, Paul Roycroft and Jason Rosborough.

“I had planned to retire earlier but it was important to take the time to teach the three lads to take over and I’d like to thank the race organisers for being so patient with the transition,” he said.

“I am very confident that the team is in good shape and I know it’s the right time for me to go.

“My wife Alex recently retired from her role as clinical geneticist and the parade lap is a wonderful chance for me to take her for a spin and give her an inclination of what her husband has been up to all these years.

“I can’t pay enough tribute to my wife and family for their unselfish support over the years. It wouldn’t have been possible to achieve a tenth of what I have without them.”

Dr Fred was presented last year with a replica of one of his helmets from Arai, which he wore at the 2016 Ulster GP and which he will wear again for his parade lap. The same helmet will be auctioned at a black-tie retirement bash on September 22 at Armagh City Hotel, organised to raise funds for the MCUI Medical Team.