A dark shadow hung over Britain’s participation in this year’s ISDE following the devastating news of the death of Michael Alty during the opening day of competition.

While racing continued hearts remained heavy for the remainder of the week. Riding alongside Karl Greenall and Russell Millward in the Sheep Skull Enduro Riders Club team, Michael was taking part in his second Six Days, his first being in the USA in ’94. Michael was just 50 years of age.

Well known and equally well loved within the British enduro community, Michael was one of the founding members of the Purple Helmets – their lighthouse of chaos, as they described him. 

A regular enduro competitor both in the UK and in France where he competed in many of their ‘classic’ enduro events in recent years, Michael finished as runner-up in the 2014 British Enduro Championship Over 40 class. 

To those that knew him Michael was unquestionably a larger than life character – a man with an unrelenting passion for life, adventure, motorcycling and someone who enjoyed a damn good party. 

During the final day of racing in France the Purple Helmets lead a tribute to Michael as the entire event stopped for a minute of silence. 

The Purple Helmets, the gang with which Michael had travelled far and wide and enjoyed so many great experiences over the years, posted the following tribute on their Facebook page…

Incomparable sadness runs through our whole team, our families and all our friends around the world at the sudden loss of Mikey. 

This is a void which can never be filled and we will never be the same again.

What big Mikey brought to us was a larger than life character, always happy to see you, always first to shake your hand and squeeze the life out of you, always first to the bar, first to start his bike, first to come up with the next ridiculous stunt.

Seldom in life do you meet someone with Mikey’s energy and love for his family, friends and for making people laugh.

It was impossible to have a bad time when Mikey was around, you’d always want to be on his table, he was the life and soul of The Purple Helmets, a leader, an organiser and a grafter.

I can’t believe he won’t be there in the middle of the shows like a lighthouse of chaos until his girls turned up and made him behave. Tracy, Faye and Katie were his jewels and a more proud husband and dad you’d rarely meet. We can’t even begin to imagine their pain.

Some will say that he passed away doing what he loved, but Mikey loved everything, he was always buzzing and had so many great friends who loved him for the same reason we all do.

This great man, a true legend and one in a million who would do anything for you and who would put a smile on your face just by being in the same room, has left a legacy of memories and stories, which we will tell for decades to come.

The sadness inside occasionally subsides with a smile when thinking about the great times with Mikey, that riding style, that laugh and his excitement of life.

Rest well big fella, we miss you so much.