Published: 00:00, 09 October 2017
| Updated: 15:37, 09 October 2017
Motorbike club members have paid tribute to Fran Fletcher, who died in an accident at Brands Hatch.
Mrs Fletcher, 55, had been racing with the Classic Racing Motorcycle Club at the track near West Kingsdown when she crashed on Saturday afternoon.
Emergency services were called at 3.20pm, but Mrs Fletcher was pronounced dead at the scene.
Fellow bikers said Mrs Fletcher - who was also a long-standing councillor and former mayor of Winterton, North Lincolnshire - was a much-loved club member who be greatly missed.
A Facebook statement posted by Classic Racing Motorcycle Club (CRMC) on Saturday said: “In a tragic accident this afternoon, our fellow racer Fran Fletcher sadly lost her life doing something she loved whilst racing her motorcycle at Brands Hatch. We offer our sincere condolences to Fran’s husband, family and friends.
“After careful consideration, we have decided to proceed with a revised program of racing which will recommence on Sunday after a minute’s silence in memory of Fran.
The revised program will be available shortly.”
CRMC member Vince Gunning said the thoughts of those at the club were with Mrs Fletcher’s family.
“She was a lovely lady,” he said. “She did a lot for her community and she was a genuine person. “It’s a very sad and tragic loss.”
And he added: “It’s one of those things that have happened throughout the history of motor sport. These things will happen.
“Knowing Fran as little as I did I do know that in the moments leading to the crash she was having the time of her life and doing exactly what she wanted.”
CRMS chairman Mark George said everyone at the club was “shocked and saddened” by news of Mrs Fletcher’s death, and a ‘book of condolences’ has now been set up on the club’s website.
Prior to racing on Sunday, club motorbikes rode slowly round the circuit behind a course car with the marshals, the doctors, the paramedics and the ambulance crews standing beside the track, flags lowered and clapping as a mark of respect, before everyone present respected a minute’s silence.
A statement posted by Winterton Town Council on Facebook said: "Yesterday we heard of the sad and tragic news of the death of one of our Councillors, Fran Fletcher, whilst racing at Brands Hatch.
"Fran served as a Town Councillor for many years including as Mayor but spent a lifetime helping Winterton. She was involved in many aspects of the town and for those who knew her knew she enjoyed life and loved racing.
"This is not just a sad loss to the council but to the town as a whole, our thoughts and prayers are with Dick, her family and friends at this time."
A statement from Kent Police said the crash occurred on the track and that no other vehicles were involved.
It added: “The air ambulance attended but the motorcyclist, a woman aged 55, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her next of kin have been informed.
“Officers are filing a report for the coroner. The woman who died is from Winterton, North Lincolnshire.”