TRIBUTES have been paid to a veteran sidecar driver who was killed during a practice session at the Isle of Man TT.

Chester-born Bill Currie, 67, from Great Sutton, died during a qualifying session on the mountain course on Tuesday evening.

His passenger Kevin Morgan, 59, from Shrewsbury, was also killed in the accident.

Mr Currie began racing in 1967 and two years later notched up third place on his TT debut.

In 1976 he gave up racing due to health reasons and didn’t compete again for 25 years.

A year after giving up, Bill lost the sight in one of his eyes in a welding accident.

However, that did not prevent the divorced father-of-two from eventually returning to the sport and consistently achieving top-10 finishes.

Four-time TT champion Bill Smith, who owns Bill Smith Motors in Boughton, said: “I’ve known him all his racing life, and I sponsored him a couple of years ago.

“In my opinion he was a great unsung hero. He was one of the top sidecar drivers of the decade – a really nice guy.”

Charlie Lambert, who is in the Isle of Man commentating for Manx Radio, added: “I was spectating on the course, I saw the marshals produce the red flag but it wasn’t until later that I heard that Bill had been involved in the accident.

“I didn’t know he’d died until it was officially announced. It was a big shock.

“People know the TT is a dangerous course. It’s the most hazardous in the world but it’s still a shock.

“I feel for his family and friends. Bill was a remarkable guy, his death is a terrific loss.

“He was one of those guys that made a mockery of that traditional notion that if you’re past 60 you’re not good for anything. He was a very good driver.”

Charlie Williams, a former TT champion from Malpas, said: “When I was a young lad going to Oulton Park, Bill was one of the local stars.

“Bill died doing what he loved, he absolutely loved the TT.”