'The question must be asked whether it is acceptable in the 21st century to have motorcycle races on public roads?'
THE FUTURE of road racing in Northern Ireland could be in jeopardy after a senior coroner questioned its safety in a damning letter sent to the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL).In his letter, John Leckey questions whether the sport is still “acceptable” given the difficulty of ensuring spectator safety. Leckey's letter also highlights the unpredictable nature of mechanical failures in road racing, and its direct impact on spectators.“The question must be asked whether it is acceptable in the 21st century to have motorcycle races on public roads?” wrote Leckey.The Coroner’s letter continued: “I am anxious that as much as possible should be done to reduce the risk of any misfortune occurring to anyone whether competing, assisting or spectating. Many children attend such events.“I recognise that if it were not for the efforts and enthusiasm of unpaid volunteers none of these events would happen. I am advised that Motorcycle Clubs have limited financial means and in the case of the Tandragee 100 the race organisers did not consider obtaining professional advice in relation to the construction and layout of the chicane. "However, this letter is not a plea on behalf of motorcycle clubs for funding to assist in staging these events but rather a flagging up of my real concerns in relation to the adequacy of present safety precautions at circuits and my desire that everything possible should be done to reduce the risks of participating in and attending what is recognised to be a dangerous sport.”But further inspection of Leckey's letter, unearthed through the Freedom of Information Act, by The Befast Telegraph, shows that spectator safety is his major cause for concern:“It should not be forgotten that whilst many racing teams and their riders are professional with large budgets, the organisers are amateurs, albeit keen enthusiasts. My principal concern, however is how spectator safety can be ensured when spectators are allowed to be positioned so close to the racing.”A DCAL spokesman said: “The department recognises that roadracing is part of the sporting and cultural fabric of Northern Ireland. There is an expectation that event promoters and the governing bodies will take their responsibilities seriously to ensure events are as safe as possible for both spectators and competitors.“Roadracing events, such as the NW200 and the Ulster Grand Prix are strategic events for both the sport and tourism industries in Northern Ireland.“Funding alone will not resolve all the safety issues. Responsibility for health and safety at motorsport events is a matter in the first instance for the promoters of the events and governing bodies.”Is spectator safety adequate at road racing events? Would you take your kids to watch one?
Yes I would (have) take my kids to watch it, if we ban everything dangerous then what is left to make you feel alive, we are fairly safe sitting on the sofa watching TV but its not really living is it?
I like to have a personal choice not a baby sitter
Take safety seriously but ban it and you lose it for ever
Posted: 11/03/2010 at 09:39
The question must be asked whether it is acceptable to limit people's free will to participate in/watch such a race because of some stupid, idealist 21st century fashion, rejecting TRADITION, PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT, BASIC HUMAN BEHAVIOUR of COMPETITIVENESS.
Life is sometimes a hard, cruel and dangerous thing, it's better to get used to it. Most people do. Normally in childhood.
We might be sophisticated, reasonable beings, but we are all flesh and bone, with the needs of it. Forgetting or denying that is a mistake.
Posted: 11/03/2010 at 10:13
Good post Tee Jay. Racing in: 'it's dangerous', shocker.
If it were as life affirming as golf, none of us would be interested..
Posted: 11/03/2010 at 14:26
No one puts a gun to anyone's head and forces them to either race or attend the races...
Is there any way that can we get all these holier than hell "do gooders" to just piss off!!???
Please Mr. Senior Coroner... quit trying to sanitize the world into a completely dull and boring place to be.... If you want a "coddled", "safe" and no risk life for yourself... by all means... have at it... stay at home and just sit in a chair and exist... until you expire naturally... But don't try and shove your nanny state crap down my throat...
Safety... I'm all for it... everything within REASON to ensure racer and spectator safety should be done... but you can not totally remove risk... and if your only avenue to make an activity "safe" in your eyes is to ban it... well then... piss off...
Posted: 11/03/2010 at 18:51
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
If they are allowed to do so.
Slowly slowly they are taking the excitment out of life for everyone.
Posted: 11/03/2010 at 19:59
F***in tree huggers.
We male our own informed choices in life. No one forces us to watch the racing, no one forces anyone to race.
Leave us be and stop interferring where your "PROFESSIONAL OPINION" IS NOT NEEDED OR WANTED.
Posted: 12/03/2010 at 07:50
I live in Australia and we used to have a handful of real road racing events and one by one the fun police put an end to it. Bathurst being the largest bike event for years at easter is no more and its a shame to see them go. Most of our top racers of the 80's and 90's learnt to race on these tracks and it wasnt that long ago that Motogp used to race on street circuts and look at it now - boring for about 80% of most of the races. Yes safety is of concern but every rider knows this when they go out to race. No one is making them race public roads. And in my opinion all of these racers have far more skill at riding a bike than everyone in the motogp paddock and world supers.
Wayne Gardner came out and stated that he wants the Isle of Man TT banned immediately because of safety and he thinks that people only ride it for the money on offer to the winners. Its funny because I didnt see him not race the street circuts in his prime.
I watch every Irish road race I can get my hands on because to me its all about the rider the bike and the road and if you have respect for all three the racing speaks for itself. Keep racing the roads and support all the riders for these guys are the true gods of Motorcycle racing.
Posted: 11/07/2010 at 12:45
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