A BUSINESSMAN who had a heart attack during a marathon motorbike endurance ride “died doing what he loved”.

That was how Cumnor company director Gordon MacPherson’s death was described by his family and friends last night.

Mr MacPherson, of Norreys Road, had a heart attack while riding across a desert in North Africa during a France to Senegal rally on October 10.

Loved ones said the 58-year-old – chief executive of Bedford heating firm Danfoss Randall – lived for motorbikes.

Wife Liz said: “He ate, slept and breathed motorbike endurance rides. It was his passion, his life.

“From Monday to Friday Gordon was a professional businessman. On weekends he was a different Gordon.”

The Scot had lived in Cumnor for 30 years and was a stepfather to two grown-up sons, Jim and Rob, and five grandchildren.

A fan of rallies for more than 20 years, Mr MacPherson completed more than a dozen endurance rides, including the 1,550-mile Tuareg Rallye in Morocco in March.

He left on September 27 for the start of the Heroes Legend Rally from Montauban, France, and had visited Spain and Morocco.

The 4,350-mile race ended in Dakar on Saturday, October 13, and Mr MacPherson was due to return home last Monday.

His wife of 25 years said: “There was always a concern but you couldn’t stop him, even if you thought there was a chance you could.

“To start with, I didn’t think I could cope with that but he died doing what he loved.”

She said: “He was a very generous man with his time.

“He had time for everybody at work. If you were on the factory floor with a problem, that was just as important as a director.

“As a family man he was a very, very loving stepfather and grandfather.”

Riding colleague Jeff Webster said the tragedy happened during baking temperatures 10 days into the 13-day trek.

He said: “There was no damage to the bike or himself. It was a case of a heart attack.”

The 58-year-old said: “He just loved motorcycling. It was his whole life and passion.”

Fondly recalling their rides in Spain and Croatia, he said: “He enjoyed working on his bike, he enjoyed the competing and the camaraderie of the rally and motorbike scene.”

He said: “If he had to go, that is not a bad way to go.”

More than 5,000 people have visited a tribute site, which features messages from work and miking friends.

Fellow rider Perry Newton said Mr MacPherson and Mr Webster helped him during one rally.

He said: “Some people are just of that nature, mentors, kind, confident, compassionate.

“We knew Gordon for only a short while but the effect he had on us will last a lifetime.”

His funeral will be held at St Michael’s Church, Abingdon Road, Cumnor, on Monday at 1pm. All are welcome.

Visit the tribute site at gordonmacpherson.info