The event known as “the most dangerous race in the world” has claimed yet another victim, and this time, it’s a hometown lad.
The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy motorcycle racing event, has now claimed its 146th life, 30-year-old Isle of Man native Dan Kneen, who crashed and was killed while taking his first practice lap for the event on Wednesday.
The Isle of Man is a small island between Ireland and Great Britain. It has hosted what locals call the “TT” since 1907. The event attracts hundreds of riders and about 40,000 spectators to the tiny island.
All practices and actual racing take place on municipal streets and roads that are blocked off for only the racers to traverse on, often at speeds reaching 200 mph. There are 400 turns and corners on the 37-plus mile track layout, organizers say.
In addition to Kneen becoming the 146th participant to perish in a wreck, another 100-plus spectators and officials have also been killed over the years when struck by motorcycles or service vehicles.
Former TT competitor Dave Roper told Sports Illustrated 15 years ago, “As thrilling as the racing is, at times I’ve thought it shouldn’t be legal. Looking back, I can’t believe I even survived.”
Added former TT champion Richard Quayle, who told the New York Times in 2017, “If (tennis star) Roger Federer misses a shot, he loses a point. If I miss an apex, I lose my life.”
Ironically, the Isle of Man is a unique entity in that even in daily driving or riding on the island by its residents, there are no speed limits.
Kneen, born in raised in Onchan, a village on the east side of the Isle, becomes the 17th rider to be killed in the TT since just 2010 alone. Four riders died in 2016 and three in 2017. Kneen is the first to perish in this year’s TT, which runs through June.
His fatal wreck occurred near the village of Churchtown, according to race organizers. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a statement by his father, Richard Kneen, on Facebook.
“Dan lived for his racing and wild horses wouldn’t have torn him away from it,” Richard Kneen wrote. “I was happy for him; he was in his element and loving it.”
“Best wishes for all the other TT competitors. The TT show will go on.”