We'd normally be watching the MotoGP race on TV. Yesterday, we didn't. Broadcast live at 8.30am from Sepang, Malayasia, instead the man and I had taken a rare opportunity not to have to get up early and we were relaxing in bed, reading, when a text from one of our biking buddies alerted us to the tragedy unfolding there.
So, within the space of a week we have lost a second promising young life to a horrific motorsport accident - this time 24-year-old Italian rider Marco Simoncelli. Flamboyant, with his mop of wild hair, and aggressively chasing every point in every race, Marco was a real character in the world of MotoGP and I feel so very sad at his loss. I feel for his family and friends, and also for Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi, who will inevitably feel responsible for what happened, even though there was nothing they could possibly have done to avoid hitting him.
However, already the comments have started about safety and motorcycling. You can hear an audio clip on the BBC Sport website where an interviewer asks MotoGP reporter Matt Roberts, "How safe is MotoGP, and motorcycling generally?"... Well, you're hurtling round at speeds of over 200mph and if you fall off you have leathers and a helmet to protect you... what do you think?
In truth, short circuit racing is safer than it's ever been and safety is taken very seriously. We've got so used to seeing what look like terrible offs, only to breathe a sigh of relief as the rider involved rolls over, gets up, and walks away, more angry that he can't continue the race than being injured.
A slightly different breed are those who take part in real road racing, like the Isle of Man TT, Manx GP, Skerries, NorthWest 200s etc. There's less opportunity to make these circuits safe and almost every year there are fatalities, and the cry goes out for them to be banned as being too dangerous.
But it's the speed and the thrill and the adrenalin that attracts us all to this amazing sport, and to ride motorcycles ourselves. The guys (and girls) that take part in motorcycle racing know what they are doing and they know the dangers, as do those of us who take to the roads or ride on track days. The man has been a motorcyclist all of his life and he's had his share of nasty injuries - you either accept it or you give up!
It's right and proper that safety is paramount and that everything possible is done to protect those who ride (or drive) but in the end motorsport IS dangerous. The people who take part accept this and those who, sadly, lose their lives taking part have done so doing something they loved and wanted to be doing.
So let's mourn the loss of Marco Simoncelli (and also Dan Wheldon who died a week ago in the American Indycar series) but let's not indulge in all this silly debate about whether these sports are too dangerous to continue.
Riposa in pace Marco.
Member since: 10th July 2012
Shy retiring (!) red-head from south Leics working hard to showcase everything great about our towns and villages. Loves her son, her man & Bruce Springsteen!
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