TWO motorcyclists died, including an off-duty police officer, after the officer tried to overtake while going at between 78mph and 94mph, an inquest has heard.

Stuart Hansen, a retired mechanic from Bridlington, and Gareth Attwood, a police officer with Humberside police, died in the crash on the B1257 between Malton and Amotherby on October 2 last year.

Coroner Michael Oakley heard that Mr Attwood, 36, had set off from Driffield that morning, one of a group of five bikers who were taking a trip to the Dales. The group got to Malton without incident, riding in single file. One witness said it was a "lovely sunny day."

The inquest heard that it was then that Mr Attwood went to overtake the vehicle in front of him, not knowing that Mr Hansen, 62, was travelling the other way, also on a Suzuki motorbike. He had been on a trip out to Whitby.

Witness James Ross, who was one of the group and riding behind Mr Attwood, said: "As he accelerated I noticed a motorcycle coming the other way. I remember seeing a helmet and the silver of the bike. Then I saw Gareth's brakes lock up.

"He hit the other motorcyclist head on."

David Taylor, the collision investigator who looked at the incident, said that he had concluded that Mr Hansen had been travelling at 58 miles per hour in a 60 zone.

He estimated that Mr Attwood was travelling between 78 and 94 miles per hour at the point of wheel lock, which had caused the bike to swerve. He added: "If the brake lock hadn't taken place there would have been room for both bikes to pass."

Mr Oakley recorded a narrative conclusion in respect of both deaths.

Speaking after the inquest, Debbie Hansen, Mr Hansen's widow, said: "We had the best life ever, he was the best person ever. He lived life to the full and I miss him like mad."

Richard Hansen, Mr Hansen's eldest son, added: "He was a spot on bloke. He'd had motorbikes all his life - he was a keen motorcyclist right from the age of 15. He was a keen mechanic and always kept his bikes in top condition. He was the healthiest and fittest he'd ever been and he was enjoying life to the fullest."