Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland
Moving on from discussing the most infamous chicane in the history of motorcycle road racing on the island of Ireland will be relatively easy, for some, not for the majority.
Then again, like to many of the 'officials' of the sport I've become acquainted with, I could label the tragedy 'nice guy, what a freak accident, remember him well', then simply file it away in a little dark corner of my mind under the category 'anecdotes' for those back slapping get togethers.
For many of those who've been shocked by reading about the whole sordid affair, the memory will fade away - in time - and those fans who actually witnessed the tragic crash, many will probably never be able to erase it from their minds, and those closest to JD - they will remember him for ever, and rightly so.
Many of those mentioned fans have since come forward, recounted what they'd witnessed - allegations of heated arguments between officials, bales being moved for reasons of safety, bales being returned to their original positions, arrogant officials more interested in maintaining their authority over all others - officials, who after the event, allegedly couldn't remember being told anything sensible by the chief marshal - well you don't when he's nattering away in your ear. Much easier just to ignore somebody like that, many people are allegedly guilty of such practices; problem is though, Richard Nesbitt was the alleged convenor of the road inspection committee for allegedly looking after competitors' and spectators' safety at the Tandragee 100 that Saturday in May 2007.
Each and every one of those fans who had watched from the paddock that day, then had the good sense to move after the first crash - they will each have read the statement by the Senior Coroner - ‘It was by the grace of God that the inquest was not dealing with multiple fatalities.’ - broken out in a cold sweat, shuddered, and rightly have thought - 'It really was by the grace of God that the inquest was not dealing with my fatality.'
So why have a chicane at that particular point on the course in the first place? Hopefully a spectator viewing spectacle and the possibility of a money making venture wasn’t one of the considerations. How many serious accidents have there been on that particular part of the course pre the chicane. Obviously quite a lot if the powers that be deemed it necessary that a chicane was needed for safety reasons, but it would still be interesting to know the exact number, and wouldn't it also be interesting to know how much money it raises each year, if any.
And whilst on the subject of money, more than one source has suggested finances, or rather lack of, being mooted as another excuse for lack of safety measures - straw bales are I'm quite sure, considerably cheaper than a professional interlocked safety barrier system, and something else I'd love to hear an answer to - is who foots the bills for those MCUI officials etc who are afforded free accommodation and the rest, all over Ireland and beyond when attending race meetings?
Instead of money being squandered on officials, it should have been used for safety equipment, then perhaps there wouldn't have been this tragedy, and our sport of real road racing might just have a future.
Mr Michael Maxwell, barrister for the family of John Donnan, also questioned the safety measures put in place to protect competitors and continued by saying. “It is unclear to me whether any particular individual or body has to be satisfied by law that the safety measures put in place are adequate to protect as far as possible competitors and members of the public. Does the fact that the bales used in the construction of the temporary chicane could be moved out of place, indicate that this mode of chicane was not fit for the purpose? If that is so in respect of a chicane constructed for the Tandragee 100 then almost certainly it is true for all chicanes constructed in a similar manner."
"The question must be asked" he continued, "as to whether it is acceptable in the 21st Century to have motorcycle races on public roads, bearing in mind the speed of modern motor racing motorcycles; the nature of public roads; the unpredictable consequences of mechanical failure, a competitor losing control of his machine or a crash involving a number of competitors and the difficulty of ensuring spectator safety particularly where spectators are allowed to be positioned close to the racing.”
If the foregoing doesn't ring very loud alarm bells, there's something wrong with you - quite possibly, you're an official of the Motorcycle Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre) Limited, you know the type, probably got bored with the coroner nattering away, much easier to ignore him, what does Northern Ireland's Senior Coroner know about safety anyway, or real road racing for that matter - nothing, that's what.
The MCUI-UC gravy train is in imminent danger of being derailed, hopefully by one of it's own chicanes - those who've been enjoying long standing competitors and fans funded lifestyles, should dismount at the next station, the one just before the train wreck, the one just before they bury our sport of motorcycle road racing, instead of burying themselves.
We're all tired of the old 'freak accident' disclaimer these idiots trot out, this is 2010, it's outdated, as are the aforementioned dinosaur officials.
Many say there are no such things as accidents, there are only stupid people whose stupid judgement calls cause serious incidents, such as the crash at this ludicrously dangerous chicane.
Save Our Sport From Evil
©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland