On October 25, 2022, Isle of Man TT sidecar competitor Olivier Lavorel died after having spent months in recovery following a crash during the 2022 IOMTT races. The same crash also killed his teammate, Cesar Chanal, immediately back in June. The tragic incident occurred at Ago’s Leap, about one mile into the TT course.
Lavorel sustained serious injuries, and organizers initially misidentified him as the rider who had died on the scene. However, they quickly issued a correction once they realized their mistake. He was airlifted to a hospital in Liverpool for initial treatment. Eventually, he was transferred to a hospital in France, where he had remained until his death. Originally from the commune of Sillingy, Lavorel was 35 years old.
2022 marked the first year that both Lavorel and Chanal participated in the IOMTT races. Both were very experienced sidecar racers in other events, however. They’d previously achieved both podiums and outright victories in the French F1 and F2 National Sidecar Championships.
In the official statement, IOMTT race organizers of course extended their sincere condolences to all of Lavorel’s family and friends during this difficult time. We wish to do the same, and send our deepest sympathies to all those who knew and loved him. Tributes have been pouring in from all corners of the larger motorcycle community, which we hope are of some comfort to his loved ones.
In mid-June, 2022, IOMTT organizers also announced a plan to investigate the five deaths that had occurred during the 2022 races. Lavorel’s death now brings the total to six. So far, no further information about the organization’s investigations of its own event has been revealed.
In 2022, Supersport and Lightweight rider Mark Purslow died after a crash at Ballagarey on June 1. Three days later, on June 4, Cesar Chanal died on the scene of the same sidecar crash that would ultimately take Lavorel’s life as well. On June 6, Supersport rider Davy Morgan died. Next, father-and-son sidecar duo Roger and Bradley Stockton both perished in a different crash at Ago’s Leap. Finally, Olivier Lavorel eventually succumbed in late October, 2022, to injuries sustained on June 4.
In announcing their investigation, TT Clerk of the Course, Gary Thompson, made the following statement: “After every incident, we work tirelessly to understand the circumstances, establish key learning and implement changes as soon as possible. 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.”
Here is hoping that they’re able to do just that.