On May 29, 2023, the Isle of Man TT racers and onlookers gathered in their throngs to kick off the proceedings once more on what is arguably the most famous island in motorsport. After a free practice session in the morning, qualifying session number one got underway for the Supersport and Supertwins categories, to be followed shortly afterward by qualifying session one for the Sidecar category.
The Supersport and Supertwin first qualifying sessions ran without notable incident. However, if you were watching the broadcast at the time (as I was), Sidecar qualifying sparked an inescapable frisson of worry as one outfit—that of Manx-born brothers Ryan and Callum Crowe—dropped out of the official times.
While all competitors (and most motorsport enthusiasts) understand that the racers know exactly what they’re doing and accept the risks that come with their chosen sports, the 2022 IOMTT was still incredibly rough. A total of six competitors died—including sidecar competitors César Chanal and his passenger Olivier Lavorel, as well as father and son duo Roger and Bradley Stockton.
Thankfully for all concerned, the Crowe brothers are both fine—but unless you’re completely new to following the TT in 2023, it’s hard for your heart not to catch in your throat when you start to read a tweet like the following from race organizers:
On May 29, 2023, at 12:08 p.m., the official IOMTT Races Twitter account wrote, “Following an incident at Laurel Bank in this afternoon’s sidecar qualifying session, Callum Crowe, passenger in outfit number three, is reported to have sustained a leg injury and is now receiving treatment. We send Callum our best wishes.”
A later report from local newspaper Isle of Man Today said that his brother, Ryan, was not hurt in the incident, and that Callum is “on the mend.” Still, one fan’s response on Twitter echoed what was likely in the hearts and minds of many a fan as they read it when they wrote, “it was only five lines till I breathed again, but they were the longest five I’ve ever read.”
Commentators noted that road resurfacing has been done over some of the roughest patches that were particularly bad for sidecars, but it’s the freaking Isle of Man TT, not a bumper car circuit or a bouncy castle. Inherent risk will always be a part of the sport, for any and all who choose to participate. It’s a decision that every racer makes for themselves—and it’s theirs to make.
We at RideApart send our best wishes to Callum Crowe for a speedy and good recovery and look forward to seeing the Crowes back in racing action in the future.