Tragic Deaths Hit 2016 Isle of Man TT
Four people killed in this year’s event, the most since 2000by Kirby, on
Tragedy has struck the Isle of Man TT anew as two more deaths have been reported, adding to the two tragedies that have already taken place in this year’s event. Ian Bell, a 58-year-old, lost his life after crashing at Ballaspur, a section of the infamous Snaefell Mountain Course. Bell was driving the side car at the time of the crash as his son, Carl Bell sat in the passenger seat. The younger Bell survived the crash with no injuries. A few hours after Bell’s tragic death, 32-year-old Andrew Soar also lost his life while competing in the Senior TT race.
The tragedies at the Isle of Man TT have cast a black cloud over what has otherwise been a record-setting week of racing. But neither Mark Higgins breaking the four-wheel record in a modified Subaru WRX STI nor Michael Dunlop setting the track record on a motorcycle could put positive spins on the tragedies that have occurred during this year’s event. In addition to the deaths of Bell and Soar, 27-year-old Dwight Beare and 50-year-old Paul Shoesmith both died on June 5 from separate crashes.
The Isle of Man TT is known for its action, but it’s also known for being a track that has taken its share of lives. All told, 252 people have been killed at the Snaefell Mountain Course. Last year, French motorcycle rider Franck Petricola was killed during a practice run.
Obviously, this is not the kind of news that we feel good reporting. So in lieu of making a proper conclusion, I’ll just extend, on behalf of everyone at TopSpeed, our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in this year’s Isle of Man TT.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Why it matters
It matters because real lives are being lost here and it doesn’t bode well for the Isle of Man TT as the death toll continues to rise with each year the event is held. Consider this: from 2000 to 2016, there has only been three years (2001, 2008, 2012) where a death hasn’t occurred in the annual event. In that same period, 28 people have died during the event.
Believe me, I don’t feel good pointing this out because the Isle of Man TT is actually an exciting race. But it still has to be said because no amount of records or action-packed racing can make up for the loss of lives that have becoming a routine occurrence at the Isle of Man TT. I’m not saying that the event itself should be cancelled, but there must be a higher priority on rider and driver safety during these races. That’s not a negotiable deal either. Race organizers have an obligation to keep the event as safe as possible for both the participants and the riders and as safe as the course has been, one death is still one too many, no matter who it is.
I’m confident that steps will be put in place to improve safety. I don’t know what those steps will be, but I’m sure that race organizers are looking at the rising number of casualties and are thinking the same things that I’m thinking. It has to stop. It just has to. It’s not about racing anymore when you have a loved one competing in any of the races at the event and you know the heightened danger that comes with it.
It’s a shame these deaths happened. It really is. So let’s just all hope that sensible people will do sensible things and improve the safety of the Snaefell Mountain Course for everyone. It may not be the popular thing to address this, but it is the right thing because no amount of competition can make up for the loss of a loved one.
Source: Isle of Man Today