Grandfather killed in Isle of Man motorbike crash 'died doing what he loved'

John Greenwell

John Greenwell with granddaughter Amelia Thomas

John Greenwell with partner Jackie Tinson

John Greenwell at the controls of a plane

First published in News
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Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Bicester and Banbury. Call me on (01865) 425426

A former Formula 1 mechanic and Eynsham driving instructor has been killed in a motorbike crash on the Isle of Man.

John Greenwell, 58, was pronounced dead at the scene on the Creg Ny Baa, on the B12, at about 1pm on Thursday.

The Hanborough Close resident was riding a new Kawasaki zx14R when his family said he lost control.

The grandfather-of-three arrived on the island, off the coast of Cumbria, last Monday to tour with three biker friends.

His son Johnny said: “He went in style doing what he loved.”

Mr Greenwell was born in Croydon, London, and worked as a mechanic in Formula 1 for McLaren, Tyrrell and Jackie Stewart’s Stewart Grand Prix team, for the Banbury-based ProDrive rally team and in Moto GP motorbike racing.

As a Formula 1 mechanic he worked in pits at Grand Prix across the world, his family said.

Mr Greenwell – who had a lifelong passion for motorbikes – moved to Oxfordshire 22 years ago, to Eynsham.

He ran the John Greenwell School of Motoring in Oxford for the past eight years and worked as a lorry driver for Asda in Didcot.

Stepson Stuart Tinson, 27, said: “John wasn’t a racer. He lost his friends and went down a country road at low speed and somehow lost control of his motorbike.”

He said: “John was a much-loved guy and touched everybody who had the pleasure of meeting him.”

He said his stepfather also enjoyed clay pigeon shooting and flying planes at Enstone Flying Club.

Mr Tinson thanked the “great and loyal” friends who were with Mr Greenwell on the Isle of Man – Graham Arnott, Stephen John Manners and Bob Bryant.

He said: “I will personally never forget the efforts you all went through despite the ordeal that faced you. You are heroes in all of our eyes and we thank you so much for the part you all played.

“We also appreciate all of the heart-wrenching condolences from all of our friends and the people that loved John and we thank you for all of your support to try to get us through the tough times we’re currently facing.”

Mr Greenwell leaves partner of 19 years Jackie Tinson, 55, stepdaughter Nicola Tinson, 28, and stepson Stuart Tinson.

He was dad to Graham, 26, and Johnny Greenwell, 28, and was brother to William, 51, and Helen Greenwell, 60.

He also leaves grandchildren Amelia and Mason, both two, and Johnnie Junior, six. Son Johnny wrote on the Isle of Man Police Facebook page: “He loved his bikes. At least he went in style doing what he loved.”

Isle of Man Police said officers were called at about 1pm to a motorcycle that had left the road.

A statement said: “Emergency services attended but sadly the rider of the machine was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Those who want to attend the funeral should contact Stuart Tinson at tinson14@googlemail.com

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