On June 1, 2022, road racer Mark Purslow died in a crash during the fourth qualifying session of the 2022 Isle of Man TT Races. He was 29 years old, and although it was only his second TT, it was not his first time racing on the TT Mountain Course. The crash occurred during his third lap of the qualifying session, at Ballagarey, before the fourth mile marker, according to IOMTT organizers. On a previous lap in the session, he had set his own personal fast lap record of 120.86 mph.
Purslow made his TT Mountain Course debut back in 2015, at the Manx Grand Prix. There, he not only did well—he actually won the Lightweight Race his first time out. He also raced at the Classic TT in 2016, 2018, and 2019, scooping up a 14th-place finish at the 2019 Junior Classic TT as his best result in that event. His previous IOMTT experience came in 2017, when he competed in both the Supersport and Lightweight classes.
The privateer racer grew up in a family that loved racing, drawing inspiration from his father. As the young racer from Llanon, Wales grew up to prepare and race his own motorcycles, his family was behind him all the way. Purslow loved road racing, and contested races in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in Europe as part of the International Road Racing Championship. For anyone who loves road racing, though, the TT represented an important and motivational challenge.
The Purslow family took to Mark’s official racing Facebook page to share the following message:
“Mark was loved by everyone, not one person had a bad word to say about him and that's because he was an amazing person inside and out, always cracking a joke and making light of every situation with a big smile on his face, always there for other people,” it began.
“He loved to ride, and he knew the risks but he loved racing since such a young age. He followed dad and his talent was immense, he learnt from the best. He was getting to his peak, having the best year ever with the Never Be Clever Racing team after so many years of doing it the hard way with Dad as a privateer.”
“We are beyond heartbroken, in shock and utterly devastated. We are such a close family and this loss is so hard to bear. We wanted to say thank you to all the kind messages of support and love from everyone who knew him! We will share any news on the funeral when we have it. For now, we are going to try and get some solace in the fact he always told us if he was going to go this would be the way he would want to, and that he would be smiling. He will be telling us all to stop crying, have a laugh and a drink for him, and celebrate his achievements. We love you Mark forever and always you were one in a million, always in our hearts. The Purslow family,” the post concludes.
As for the 2022 IOMTT, organizers stated that “the TT Races will continue—but always with Mark in mind.” After the incident, the red flags came out and the qualifying session was immediately discontinued by all. Organizers and pretty much everyone within the road racing community and press have extended their heartfelt condolences to Purslow’s family and friends during this difficult time. We at RideApart also join in those wishes, although of course words are never enough.