UPDATE, June 9, 2022: Isle of Man TT organizers released a clarifying statement regarding their earlier and apparently erroneous report of Lavorel’s death. Here’s what it says. 

“On Saturday 4th June during the opening lap of the first Sidecar Race of the 2022 Isle of Man TT Races, an accident at Ago’s Leap involving outfit number 21 of César Chanal and Olivier Lavorel resulted in the death of one of the competitors. 

The race was stopped with the deployment of full-course red flags, and medical personnel, a Travelling Marshal, and the emergency services were immediately dispatched to the scene. 

One of the competitors sustained injuries that would not support life and was sadly declared dead at the scene. The second competitor was unconscious with severe injuries. 

The injured competitor was treated at the roadside before being transferred to Noble’s Hospital, and then airlifted to a specialist hospital in Liverpool to receive treatment. 

An initial identification procedure was conducted using established procedures and would appear to have resulted in a mistaken identification. 

We now believe it was César Chanal who died at the scene of the accident on Saturday 4th June. Olivier remains in a critical condition and continues to receive treatment. 

Both competitors’ families have been informed. 

A thorough review of the processes relating to the identification of competitors will take place in due course. 

Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of both Olivier and César at this truly devastating time. 

We ask that people do not speculate on social media.” 

Original piece, which was written based on the previous official statement from the IOMTT organizers, follows. 

Competitive motorcycle sidecar passenger Olivier Lavorel died during the first Isle of Man TT Sidecar Race of 2022 on June 4. Officials state that Lavorel was killed in a crash at Ago’s Leap, slightly under one mile into the race. He was 35 years old. 

The 2022 IOMTT was to have been Lavorel and driver César Chanel’s first-ever TT competition. Although the pair had not previously experienced the Mountain Course prior to 2022, they were both experienced sidecar competitors. Immediately following the crash that claimed Lavorel’s life, Chanel was taken to nearby Noble Hospital, then airlifted to Aintree Hospital in Liverpool in critical condition, according to race organizers. 

Originally scheduled to start 39th, the pairing of Chanel and Lavorel bumped up to a starting position of 21st, after qualifying 15th fastest in the field. Prior to contesting the TT, the pair claimed multiple wins and podium places in France’s F1 and F2 National Sidecar Championships.  

Following the incident, the Sidecar Race was immediately red-flagged and was not restarted. Our sister publication Autosport writes that “It is thought one [sidecar] outfit crashed and a following Sidecar was caught unsighted as it began its lap and hit the stricken machine, causing a major fire incident.” At this point, full details of what happened aren’t yet clear. 

In a statement confirming the death of Lavorel, TT organizers expressed their deepest sympathy to Lavorel’s family, friends, and loved ones, as well as sending their thoughts and best wishes to Chanel. They also added that “the road racing community is like no other in motorsport, particularly within the world of sidecars. The loss of Olivier will be felt throughout the paddock.” 

Lavorel’s death marks the second competitor death during the 2022 proceedings, with experienced road racer Mark Purslow dying in a crash during qualifying on June 1. The 2022 IOMTT race marks a return to competition for the event, after having spent the last two years on hold due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. 

We at RideApart send our deepest condolences to Lavorel’s friends, family, and all who knew him. We also hope that Chanel has a speedy and good recovery. 

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