Craig Jones' parents and girlfriend have paid tribute to the World Supersport star, who died in a high-speed accident at Brands Hatch on Sunday.

"Craig fought his utmost - like he always has done - but this was one battle he just couldn't win," Craig's father, Steve Jones, told the Northwich Guardian.

The 23-year-old was battling for his first World Supersport victory in his home event when he lost the rear of his Parkalgar Honda as he accelerated through the fast right-hand turn that leads onto the home straight.

Third placed Andrew Pitt was unable to avoid the fallen rider, who was flown by air ambulance to Royal London Hospital suffering from a serious head injury. Jones died shortly after midnight with his family and friends by his side.

Jones was runner-up in the 2005 British Supersport Championship, rode for Foggy Petronas in the 2006 World Superbike Championship and had taken seven podium finishes since switching to the World Supersport series at the start of 2007.

"He was beyond repair," said Steve of Craig's condition after the accident.

"Craig was a fit lad and he didn't want to give in - now was not his time to go.

"But that's the character of my boy - he was young, strong and brave."

Speaking to the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, Steve added:

"We keep thinking he's going to walk through the door, or there will be a phone call saying it's a mistake. But it isn't.

"For his mum, she always worried about the dark side of the sport. I never did. You think it will never happen to you.

"At three, his mum bought him a PW50 Yamaha motorcross bike, and we played around the fields that backed onto the house.

"I took him to race meetings, because I used to do grass track racing myself. But it wasn't for him and I never pushed him.

"Then in 1995, he went on to race mini motos, and that was it - he was hooked.

"At seven years old, he could ride a Yamaha like a speedway rider.

"I knew he had something about him, and he wanted to win at everything he did."

Mum Yvonne confirmed that she 'hated him racing' due to the dangers, but took comfort from the fact that Craig fully understood the risks involved and loved the sport.

"I hated him racing... But he said to me, 'Mum, you might as well cut off my arms and legs if you say I can't race'.

"It was what he loved. He died doing what he loved best. We do take comfort from that.

"He told me, 'If I die racing, I will die happy'."

Craig also leaves a girlfriend of five years, Karen Atkins.

"He was charming, witty and fantastic," she told the 'paper. "He was everything to me. He was my world."

Karen revealed that double World Superbike champion James Toseland, racing in MotoGP this year, had rushed from a gig with his band in Leicester to be by Craig's bedside at the Royal London Hospital. Another British motorcycling star, Craig's best friend Tommy Hill, was already present.

"As I opened the curtains, James came through the door, and I said, 'Your hero is here, Craig'," she recalled.

"I'm sure that was the moment he went. He heard my voice and knew James and his family and best friend, Tommy Hill, were there."

Steve explained: "Someone mentioned to James Toseland if he had heard what had happened to Jonesy, and he put his mic down and rushed from the gig straight to the hospital."

Steve also wanted to thank everybody who had passed on their best wishes to the family.

"We've been overwhelmed," he said. "And I just want to thank every single person who has tried to contact us."

Craig leaves two sisters, Cassie (20) and Kirsty (29), and a niece Libby (18 months).