Motorcyclist killed in horror crash died doing what he loved
BELOVED Eimeo motorcyclist Wes Carlton - who was tragically killed in a fatal crash in northern New South Wales - died with a smile on his face doing what he loved.
The family of the 55 year old, also known as 'Pop' among his riding brothers, have paid tribute to the dedicated and supportive father, described as generous, selfless and with a wicked sense of humour.
"He was the first one to take the p*** out of you," his son Ben, 25, said.
Wes had been with six other riders from the Sons of the Southern Cross Central Queensland chapter on a charity run when he was killed.
"He was doing two things he loved, he was riding his bike and he was helping people," Wes's brother Noel Carlton said.
Three mates - Jeff 'Wellsy' Wells, Stephen 'Browny' Brown and Ken 'Smiley' Hyde - were also injured in a head-on collision with a Kia Rio at Kyogle.
After learning of the crash about 3.30pm on Sunday, October 19 he, Ben and Wes's daughter Bethany, 22, made the confronting journey to the site.
Mr Carlton said the three uninjured riders in Pop's group had waited for them to arrive and "walked us step by step through the scene".
"They reckon he had a smile on his face. His helmet came off in the accident and they reckon he had a smile on his face when he was laying there," Mr Carlton said.
Ben and Bethany said visiting the site helped bring some comfort, but the bleak reality of their loss has not sunk in for the close-knit family.
"It was emotional and confronting but it did help make it a little bit more real," Bethany said.
Noel said Wes earned his nickname from the Sons of the Southern Cross after a ride one day.
"When they pulled over (the president of the club) told him he had to catch up. He said 'you're like a bloody old grandpa'," Mr Carlton recalled.
"So he became known as Pop after that."
The family also visited the three injured riders in hospital.
"The support that everyone has shown, especially in the riding community, is just phenomenal," Noel said.
Wes had been riding motorbikes all his life and Harley Davidson's for about the past 15 years.
Ben, who lives in Kilcummin with fiancee Jolene Battersby, said it was a "close race" between Wes's love of his bike and his two-year-old grandson Clancy.
"He loved … any time spent with him," Jolene said.
Bethany, who lives in Brisbane, laughed recalling her dad's wicked sense of humour and love of Home And Away.
"Home And Away was his thing - (he watched it) religiously," she said.
Both Bethany and Jolene recently got tattoos in honour of Wes - and his love of Kirks lemonade.
One of Wes's riding brothers - James 'Knuckes' McGovern - said Pop was like family.
"He was just happy and always here to help, nothing was too much trouble for him," he said.
"It is an absolute nightmare."
He said the bike group was there "to try and look after each other".
"We can't look out for this kind of thing though," he said.
Wes will be honoured in a touching funeral tomorrow afternoon.
Noel said riders from across the country were attending and would act as a guard of honour for the hearse as it was driven from Mackay Harbour to the service.