Sad death of French Sidecar driver César Chanal confirmed after crash at Isle of Man TT | Confusion after organisers announce mistaken case of identity

The family of French Sidecar driver César Chanal have confirmed that he has sadly passed away following a crash at the Isle of Man TT.

By Kyle White
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 6:01 pm

A newcomer to the event, he was involved in an incident at Ago’s Leap on the first lap of the Sidecar race on Saturday, June 4. His passenger, Olivier Lavorel (35), was originally said to have died in the crash, however in an unfortunate turn of events on Wednesday, the organisers said he had wrongly been identified as the fatal casualty on Saturday and remains in a critical condition.

In a social media post, Gilles Chanal said: “I regret to announce the death of César Chanal, gone far too soon with star eyes on the tourist trophy that made him dream so much.

“If we already miss your presence and smile, you will always be in our hearts.”

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French Sidecar crew César Chanal and passenger Olivier Lavorel leave the startline in the ill-fated race on Saturday, June 4.

A statement issued by the TT organisers on Wednesday morning said they believed Lavorel had been wrongly identified on Saturday as the competitor who had been killed.

"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 statement read.

"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."

The statement said a review of the identification process was now under way.

"Both competitors’ families have been informed," it continued.

"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."

Chanal is the third fatality at this year’s TT Races after Welshman Mark Purslow died in a crash in qualifying at Ballagarey, while Northern Ireland rider Davy Morgan lost his life in a crash on the final lap of Monday’s Supersport race at the 27th Milestone.