A multi-millionaire horse trainer was killed when he was struck on the head by a boat, an inquest heard, as his family called for greater safety measures to prevent future deaths at powerboat races.
Kevin Edmondson, aged 53 from Kent, died last year on June 24 while competing in a powerboat race at the Offshore Circuit Racing Drivers Association (OCRDA) at West Bay, near Bridport, Dorset.
Mr Edmondson was being lapped by fellow racer Bob McCarthy when a wave caught the bottom of his 20ft long craft and caused it to 'violently hook' to the left.
He died from severe head injuries after being hit by the side of Mr McCarthy’s boat which drove over his in the 80mph fatal collision, Bournemouth Coroners Court heard.
It miraculously missed Mr Edmondson’s navigator and girlfriend of 20 years, Annika Hawthorne, who witnessed the horrific accident which occurred on the final lap of the last race of the weekend.
He had been with Ms Hawthorne, a jockey, for around 20 years, and had lived with her at Denstead Stud Farm near Canterbury, Kent, for 16 years.
The father-of two’s family called for “lessons to be learned” from the incident through a strengthening of the current safety regulations at offshore powerboat races.
Mark Humber-Kelly, speaking on behalf of the Edmondson family, cited the example of racer Alex Edmonds, 41, who died when two boats collided in Dover harbour during a powerboat race at Dover Regatta in August 2009.
Mr Humber-Kelly said: "We are fully aware this was an accident but this is not the first time this kind of accident has happened and we would hate for it to happen to somebody else.
“We want lessons to be learnt. This could have been avoidable if lessons had been learnt from previous instances.”
But Deborah Rookes, the assistant Dorset coroner, said she was satisfied all the appropriate safety procedures were put in place by the race organiser.
She added that drivers were aware they were participating in a 'dangerous' sport, and that both racers were experienced drivers familiar with the course.
Steve Oaten, the race manager, said they did a safety briefing each morning and drivers' boats were scrutinised to make sure they didn't have any faults before they were allowed to compete.
Drivers were even breathalysed to check they were in a fit state to race.
He told The Telegraph: “The circumstances surrounding Kevin’s accident (a hook) is not unique to OCR and can happen in all Powerboat racing disciplines across the world and is the equivalent to a rear end skid in motor racing.
“The sport as a whole is constantly looking for ways to reduce a ‘hook’ along with any other measures to improve safety as a whole and this incident is a strong reminder that we should continue to do so.”