Isle of Man News - POSTED Mon 11-09-2017

Calls to ban the Isle of Man TT races shunned by widow of veteran racer

by BBC Inside Out North West

Calls to ban the Isle of Man TT races shunned by widow of veteran racer

The widow of the 250th rider to be killed in the Isle of Man TT races has refused to back calls to ban the event, saying it would be ‘disrespectful’ to his memory.

Father-of-four Paul Shoesmith, 50, lost his life on the course in June 2016 shortly after recording his fastest ever lap.

According to unofficial records, Mr Shoesmith was the 250th rider to be killed on the road track and since his death five more have lost their lives. The total number of fatalities includes both TT events and Manx Grand Prix races.

The mounting death toll has renewed the campaign for the annual race on the Snaefell Mountain Course to be cancelled.

But Mr Shoesmith’s widow Janet Cowden has told BBC Inside Out North West that she can’t support the campaign, despite her family’s loss.

The couple, from Poynton, had two small children (now aged 3 and 4) when he was killed on a training run on the course.

Ms Cowden said: “He died doing something he loved.”

She added: “A lot of people would have wanted me to hate the event and to hate racing... it’s just so hard to do that.

“I would never allow anyone to slate the sport or slate what he did because it’s what made him - it would be disrespectful to him.

“There’s nothing else like [the TT] and I’ll never hate something that brought him and our families so much joy.”

Campaigner Bernard Moffat, who is from the Isle of Man and has called for the event to be banned, told the programme: “Prior to the TT we scale back activity in the hospital to make sure that is clear.

“Now what civilised society does that ahead of a sporting event?”

“It’s reached the stage where the pressure on riders to perform and the speed of the machines is such that eventually there’s going to be probably an horrendous incident…”
One lap of the TT is thirty seven and three quarter miles of twists and turns, 264 corners, unforgivingly fringed by immovable objects, walls, telegraph poles, houses.
Organisers said: “We try to make it as safe as possible and conduct an annual risk assessment.”
The full investigation can be seen on Inside Out North West, Monday 11th September at 7.30pm on BBC One or on BBC iPlayer for 30 days.

Photo - Ron Strathdee - Digitalmanphotography.

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