Two promising young downhillers have died in a car crash. Ben Ineson and Tom Rodgers were killed when Tom's red Peugeot 306 crashed into a wall on the A65 in North Yorkshire at 1.30pm yesterday.
Ben, from Langcliffe, had recently been signed up to ride for the Astrix Europe team, and had previously ridden for All Terrain Cycles, Solid Bikes and Aire Valley Cycles. The 18-year-old came 24th at last year's World Cup round in Schladming, Austria, and was the top ranked British junior.
His friend Tom, 21, who lived in Saltaire, rode for local shop All Terrain Cycles on a Giant Glory. He won the Seniors category at the 2006 English DH Championships and was set to move up into Elite.
Chris Papworth, from Astrix Europe, said: "We extend our deepest and sincerest thoughts to Ben's and Tom's family and friends. I don't think there's much we can say right now that people aren't already thinking.
"I spoke to Ben yesterday and he was just loving being on his bike and looking forward to this season. He would have caused some waves this year on the DH circuit for sure. As far as we are concerned, he signed for 2009 and we will honour that in an appropriate way.
Ben Ineson had just signed with Astrix Europe after a strong season in 2008
"Ben was one of those people you wanted to know more and I was genuinely looking forward to having him around this year, as were our other team riders. I know he would have wanted everyone to ride as much as they can. He rode his bike full-time and his parents supported him beyond what is deemed normal. We are deeply saddened."
Tony Booth, MD of All Terrain Cycles, said Tom had been due to come into work today after returning from a trip to New Zealand, and staff were in shock after the tragic news.
"Tom was a valued member of staff and will be sadly missed," he said. "Both Tom and Ben were part of the All Terrain downhill team and were never happier when out racing or riding their bikes. Our heartfelt condolences go out to both families."
Tom Rodgers rode for the shop where he worked, All Terrain Cycles in Saltaire
Police said the pair were travelling towards Long Preston when Tom's car came off the road by the Cleatop roundabout, near Settle, and crashed into a wall and hedge. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.