Chris Swallow inquest rules Classic TT death was 'tragic accident'

An inquest into the death of Classic TT racer Chris Swallow rules that he died in a 'tragic accident' and recommends more protective barriers

Chris Swallow

An inquest into the death of Chris Swallow during the 2019 Classic TT races has ruled he died in a ‘tragic accident’.

Mr Swallow, who was born in the UK but had emigrated to New Zealand nine years earlier, crashed on the opening lap of the Junior Classic race last August. He suffered fatal head and neck injuries and died at the scene at Ballaugh Bridge.

An inquest revealed he had been travelling ‘too fast’ to tackle the jump at Ballaugh Bridge, causing his machine to reach a ‘staggering height’ before landing heavily on the road.

Mr Swallow lost control of the motorcycle and collided with the end property in a row of cottages opposite The Raven pub, with the machine bursting into flames on impact.

Giving a verdict of ‘accidental death’, an inquest into his death heard there was no mechanical issues, while the weather conditions were said to be ‘perfect for racing’. 

Coronor Jayne Hughes recommended to the Auto-Cycle Union and Department of Infrastructure that a protective barrier be placed in front of the cottages as it ‘may have lessened the severity of the injuries’. A protective barrier was erected in the wake of the accident for the remainder of the event. 

Mr Swallow, who emigrated to Wellington in 2010 and worked as a teacher, was an experienced road racer on Isle of Man TT Mountain Course, making his debut in 2007 at the Manx Grand Prix Classic, while he finished a career-best fourth in the Senior Classic in 2018. 

He is survived by his wife and two young daughters.