You don’t want to start your day on a bad note, but sometimes you just have to do it so you can get things out of the way. So it’s with heavy hearts that I have to report the tragic death of French rider Franck Petricola, who lost his life in an accident during one of the qualifying rounds at the Isle of Man TT.

A statement issued by the event organizer ACU Events Ltd indicated that the 32-year old Petricola was killed following an accident at Sulby Crossroads at approximately 7:45 pm local time.

While not particularly considered a household name in the motorcycle racing scene, Petricola has been a regular competitor in the IRRC Championship where he enjoyed his best season in 2013 when he finished 11th in the Superbike category. Petricola was actually scheduled to make his debut in the Isle of Man TT in 2014, only to bow out due to injuries sustained in the 2014 North West 200 just weeks prior to the event.

So it ended up that 2015 was supposed to be his first run at the Snaefell Mountain, only for that opportunity to be taken away from him in the saddest way imaginable. The ACU statement also revealed that the Coroner of Inquests has been informed about Petricola’s death and an investigation into the circumstances of the accident has begun.

On behalf of everyone here at TopSpeed, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Franck Petricola. Everybody knows how dangerous Snaefell Mountain is, but it’s still heartbreaking to hear that the track has once again taken the life of a motorcycle rider way too soon than any of us expected.

Rest in peace, Franck Petricola.

Continue reading to read more about Franck Petricola’s death during the qualifying round of the Isle of Man TT race.

Why it matters

Boy, how do you even begin with something like this?

I don’t know too much about Franck Petricola so I my reaction wasn’t in the same level of shock as I had when I heard about the death of Dane Westby back in March 2015. But Petricola also belongs in the same motorcycle racing family so obviously, a lot of people, myself included, took this news pretty hard.

It’s weird because we all know how treacherous the Isle of Man TT course is. It’s considered one of the most dangerous racing venues in the world and the fact that it took the lives of five riders in 2014 perfectly illustrates that.

So when it comes to the Isle of Man TT, you kind of have this feeling in the back of your head, like a worst case scenario, that there will be casualties in this race. Whether its injuries or worse, death, the Snaefell Mountain isn’t the type to tell the difference.

Still, Petricola’s death is a heavy blow for the entire motorcycle racing scene, especially to his family, friends, and those who have followed his career in the IRCC. It’s still unclear what exactly happened that led to his death, but whatever it was, it still stinks that it happened.

Whether it could’ve been avoided is a question I have no real answers to right now. I just pray that his family and friends can cope with this understandably horrible time in their lives.

Press Release

ACU Events Ltd regrets to announce that French rider Franck Petricola, 32, from Pont a Mousson was killed following an accident at Sulby Crossroads at approximately 7.45pm during this evening’s qualifying session at the Isle of Man TT races.

Petricola was a regular competitor in the IRRC Championship and enjoyed his best season in 2013 with 11th overall in the Superbike category. His best result, sixth, came at Chimay and he ended the year strongly with six successive top ten finishes and took a brace of thirds in the Lightweight Races at Horice and Terlicko.

He was due to make his TT debut in 2014 but was injured in the North West 200 meeting earlier in the month and was forced to withdraw from last year’s event. He returned to full fitness and raced at Scarborough and the North West 200 where he finished 25th in the Superstock race and 21st in the Superbike Race.

The ACU wishes to pass on their deepest sympathy to Franck’s family and friends.

The Coroner of Inquests has been informed and an investigation into the circumstances of the accident is underway.

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