|The Isle of Man TT Road Races have been held since 1904, with interruptions for the two World Wars, and virus outbreaks in 2001, 2020, and 2021. In its history, 262 competitors have lost their lives. Since 1937, 1982 has been the only year without a fatal accident.|
In 2022, before the first race had even concluded, there had already been two fatalities. Mark Purslow (WAL) lost his life during a qualifying session. Sidecar co-driver Olivier Lavorel (FRA) lost his life on the opening lap of the first Sidecar race. Teammate César Chanel (FRA) was airlifted in critical condition. On June 6, veteran Davy Morgan (NIR) also died following an accident.
There is no other sport competition in the world with statistics similar to these, whereby it is statistically more likely that at least one competitor will not come out alive than any.
Motorsports are intrinsically dangerous and competitors accept the risks. The Isle of Man TT is not different, except perhaps that it is intrinsically more dangerous.
In the past, the race used to be part of the Road Racing World Championship (now commercially known as MotoGP) until it was deemed too unsafe. Today the paths are so divergent, it would seem unthinkable for those that only follow closed-circuit racing to think that the Isle of Man Races still take place.
The Isle of Man TT is inherently more dangerous because of the speeds the bikes reach (over 215 km/h) and because its long circuit is held on public roads, including the hazards one can find in them, such as bumps, proximity to lamp posts or trees, etc.
It is financially -and probably practically- impossible at the moment to prepare 60 kilometers on a public road to adapt it to the most modern standards of safety. Hopefully, someday it is possible but it will not be anytime soon.
Nevertheless, competitors accept the risks and are willing to make an informed decision about racing the TT, which for many is their lifelong dream indeed. Few people in the world are able to feel the sensations that racing down the Isle of Man TT would make one feel. For them, that is living. And if we are going to die at some point anyway, we might as well live life intensely.
It has been three years since the last Isle of Man TT took place, and participants and spectators were eagerly awaiting it. The races are underway and the show must go on, forasmuch as those that have perished on the way died for something worth it.