“We’re now grappling with the big issues, finding real clarity between the inherent risks and the unnecessary risks, and removing the latter. Historically the view has always been that racing the TT is risky, and because that’s part of the attraction, you’ll only ruin it if you try and deal with that risk.”
That’s what Isle of Man TT (IOMTT) Safety Management System (SMS) Doctor Gareth Davies noted prior to the 2022 IOMTT. After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tourist Trophy tapped Davies and former Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot Nigel Crennell to scrutinize the TT’s safety protocols and propose future practices. Unfortunately, all that hard work couldn’t prevent five fatal crashes at the 2022 road race—the most deaths at IOMTT since 1989.
On June 1, 2022, Supersport and Lightweight rider Mark Purslow died following a crash at Ballagarey during the third lap of the fourth qualifying session. Just three days later, on June 4, 2022, a crash at Ago’s leap killed sidecar racer César Chanal. June 6, 2022, delivered even more devastating news when Northern Irish rider Davy Morgan died in an incident on the final lap of the TT’s first Supersport Race. Ago’s Leap was the site of the final fatal crash, claiming the lives of father-son duo Roger And Bradley Stockton.
“After every incident, we work tirelessly to understand the circumstances, establish key learning and implement changes as soon as possible,” stated TT Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson. “Any fatality during an event is a tragedy. As an organization, we promise to take any actions that can help improve safety and undertake this at the earliest opportunity.”
Of course, every Isle of Man TT participant knows the risks that the Snaefell Mountain Course poses to all competitors. We hope that TT organizers can identify and implement new proactive and post-crash protocols that can enhance the safety of the road race. However, there’s no sign that the IOMTT will suspend future motorcycle races similar to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb’s move following Carlin Dunne’s death in 2019.