TOP quad bike racing champion Mark Watson was killed after the car he was driving left the road and smashed into a house in Alston, Cumbria.
Mark Watson, 26, was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics after a white Ford Fiesta left the road on Front Street, Alston, and collided with a house at around 2.15am yesterday.
Mr Watson, from Alston, Cumbria, competed in all major national events in the sport along with his brother John, and was ranked second in the country for quad biking.
He was a former British motocross sidecar champion in 2007 as passenger with brother John driving, but turned to quad bike racing in February 2008.
He pulled off his first overall victory in the British MMX championships in 2009 at a national event held in Workington.
In 2010, he won the top spot in the 2010 Goldspeed ACU British Quad Championship and was ranked second overall.
Mr Watson had raced for Bishop Auckland-based Team Anderson ATV, owned by Paul Anderson, a former British Quad Champion.
A message on Quad Online, a website dedicated to quad racing, read: “Top UK quad racing star Mark Watson died following a road accident last night.
“Mark had been making a remarkable recovery from multiple injuries received in a horrendous practice crash at the Quadcross of European Nations in Germany in September, and was preparing and training for the 2012 QX season.
“Our thoughts are with Mark’s family and friends at this time.”
Mr Watson’s family were too upset to comment about the tragedy yesterday morning.
A resident from Alston, Cumbria, saw the house that the car had crashed into.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “It was pretty bad.
“The front of the house was all smashed and the car had gone through one of the windows.
“There was a hole in the house from the damage. There was glass everywhere, it wasn’t very pretty.”
Mr Watson also owned his own construction company and worked as a builder.
In February this year, he made an appeal for the return of his KTM quad bike worth £8,000 after it was stolen from an outbuilding near his home.
His orange and black competition bike was emblazoned with 85 on the front and rear – the year of his birth.
Mr Watson competed in events in Britain, Europe and America and his favourite circuits for motocross were in Brou, France, and Rudersberg, Germany.
He began winning trophies in 2004 for sidecar racing and became British Under 21 champion.
A spokeswoman for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service said: “The car had crashed into a house. A man was killed at the scene and two other people were trapped. They were released prior to our arrival.”
Anyone with information or anyone who saw the vehicle prior to the collision is asked to contact Cumbria Police on 101.