Deaths ought to prompt debate over the future of road racing

A letter from Maurice Fitzgerald:

By Letters
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 4:00 am
Updated Thursday, 30th June 2022, 12:46 pm
Taking the chequered flag is the ambition of road racers when they line up on the starting grid - but in their quest for success, the sport has claimed the lives of many riders
Taking the chequered flag is the ambition of road racers when they line up on the starting grid - but in their quest for success, the sport has claimed the lives of many riders

The death toll from motorcycle racing on this island continues to rise with the latest death of Jack Oliver, just 20 years old, from Limavady, at the Kells Road Races in County Meath.

There is little or no discussion about what can be done to stop people dying prematurely from motorcycle crashes or improve safety — or whether motorcycles should be produced at all given the very high safety risks they pose?

There is also zero political discussion on the matter of allowing road races which present risks to the general public and those who are arguably going so fast it represents a toying with suicide. It’s true that track racing is a hell of a lot safer with a controlled environment and medical personnel instantly available — with time being critical in the event of a bad incident.

Letter to the editor

Track racing is also better from a spectator’s point of view and again safer, but not without serious risk. And all for what: a bottle of champagne, a laurel wreath, and a cheque, if they remain alive to get it? Not to mention the higher number who have sustained life-changing injuries that cannot walk, never mind ride a motorcycle ever again.

Dare it be said: it may be time to ban road races altogether as extremely dangerous and not in anyone’s interest.

For too many riders the last wreath they get is black, rather than a green memorial wreath, to end their very dangerous career and their life and leave loved ones behind to grieve.

It’s surely time for Ireland’s motorcycle community to urgently review safety and ask themselves how many more funerals are they going to attend before they get wise?

Maurice Fitzgerald,

Shanbally, Co Cork