Track's tribute to superbike champ
RACE bosses have named a stretch of track in honour of tragic Vale superbike hero Mark Buckley.
Organisers at Aberdare Park Road Races, where Mark was crowned Welsh Open Champion in 2009 and 2010, have christened a section of the racetrack "Buckley's" as a tribute to the 35-year-old biking enthusiast.
Race chiefs also displayed a flag with the popular champion's trademark slogan "living the dream" and devoted a race programme to the legendary father-of-four.
Derek Smith, 50, the event's organiser, told the Reporter everyone involved with the event had been left gutted by Mark's death which inspired the racing community to celebrate his wonderful achievements.
He said: "Mark had a special little place that he liked to park - it was a bone of contention because it was closest to the start. We have now dedicated about 100 metres of the track to him.
"Mark will never be forgotten in Aberdare Park and that's how it should be. This weekend is about keeping Mark's memory going.
"He was not just a racer, he was a friend of mine and there's a big difference.
"I'm still a bit shocked about what's happened quite honestly - what an impact he had on everybody.
"Mark and I became very personal pals. Mark took an interest in my son Alex and we had a plan that Alex was going to travel down to Spain with Mark and he would bring him on with his racing.
"He was Alex's idol and still is. He had so many years ahead of him, it's such a shame. He was a gentleman in racing and through and through."
The racetrack tribute comes weeks after we revealed directors of Borders Race of the Reivers, scheduled for Jedburgh in 2014, are planning to name a race after Mark and they are retiring his 66 number as a mark of respect.
Mark's wife Jayne and Mark's dad Jimmy are travelling down to the event at the weekend to see the tributes for themselves first hand.
Jayne added: "Everybody made us feel part of this one big happy family. Everybody loved Mark, he was friendly with everyone round the park.
"He formed such a close friendship with Derek and his family and the organisers of the Aberdare Park.
"It's going to be such an emotional weekend because it means so much."
Bonhill biker Mark died after losing control of his bike at the North West 200 race in May.
His loss prompted a flood of tributes from shocked friends and members of the biking community, including superbike racing legend Carl Fogarty.
This article appeared in Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter 31 Jul 12
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