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Motorcyclist jailed after being caught riding his bike at 149mph

Barry Gray of Aviemore at Inverness Sheriff Court
Barry Gray of Aviemore at Inverness Sheriff Court

A biker who rode at one of the highest speeds recorded on a Highland road was jailed for four months yesterday.

Barry Gray sped along a road near Aviemore at 149mph – more than twice the 60mph limit – on a 20-year-old motorcycle he was road-testing for faults.

He admitted the offence at a previous hearing – but when the 39-year-old appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court for sentencing yesterday, the Sheriff was “perturbed” that Gray had not realised the speed he was doing.

Sentencing a visibly shocked Gray, Sheriff David Sutherland said: “This is one of the highest speeds ever recorded in the Highlands.

“It beggars belief you would test your bike in circumstances like this. But I am perturbed that not withstanding your knowledge of bikes, you were not aware of the speed you were doing. Therefore I cannot deal with this other than with a custodial sentence.”

Father-of-four Gray was also disqualified for driving for five years and ordered to resit the extended driving test before being allowed back on the road.

Fiscal depute Alison Wylie told the court that Gray, of Aviemore Holiday Park, Dalfaber Road, Aviemore, was caught by a police speed trap on September 7, 2015 on the A95 at Auchendean, by Skye of Curr.

He admitted driving dangerously.

She said traffic was light and road conditions were dry at the time of the offence at 5.35pm.

“Police saw the motorcycle and knew it was travelling well in excess of 60mph. Then there was a sudden burst of speed and they immediately put the gun on it, recording 149mph.”

Defending, Willie Young explained to the court that Gray was familiar with driving bikes at such speeds as the former off-shore oil worker competed regularly in Scottish Championships.

He added: “He has held a licence since the age of 16 which was when he had his one and only road traffic offence.

“This was a vehicle which was 20 years old but had a low mileage. It had a running issue as it had been sitting in a garage for eight years and had a rusty fuel tank and gathered dirt.

“He had stripped it down and had taken it into Inverness to get good fuel and a fuel additive. The vehicle was still coughing and spluttering on the way back but as he got near Aviemore he felt the issue was starting to clear.

“He was familiar with this road and knew there was a straight coming up. He was the only vehicle in sight and he did a burst of acceleration over a distance of 1,000ft. He then decelerated down to the speed limit as he approached traffic up ahead.”

Last night veteran road safety campaigner Dave Stewart, Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, warned of the dangers of driving at excessive speeds. He said: “Driving at excessive speed is a tremendous risk, both to the individuals concerned and to other road users.

“We all have a social responsibility when driving to be aware of other road users by not driving at excessive speeds or driving while impaired by drink or drugs or by checking text messages.

“This is about social responsibility and the message we need to put out is that excessive speeds are dangerous, particularly on Highland roads.

“My message is, watch your speed, it could be your wife or relative in the other car.”

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