The Isle of Man TT is one of those events that you’ve probably heard of even if you don’t follow motorsport. The incredible display of speed and precision has been run since 1906 and every year sees hundreds of riders tackle the 37.73-mile circuit around this chunk of land in the Irish Sea. But sadly, it doesn’t always capture the headlines just because of the sporting prowess on display.
Instead, it is often remembered as one of the deadliest races in the world, and has so far claimed the lives of more than 250 riders in its 116-year history. And now, things have gotten worse for the event as it has been forced to launch an investigation into its practices after announcing the death of the wrong rider during this weekend’s running.
On Saturday (June 4th) during the opening laps of the sidecar competition, the number 21 bike ridden by Olivier Lavorel and Cesar Chanal collided with a stricken vehicle near the start of the course. Following the crash, organizers incorrectly announced that Lavorel had died in the incident, and that Chanal had been airlifted to hospital in Liverpool to receive emergency treatment.
This story, as with every casualty at the event, was picked up by sport publication and news outlets as it marked the second death in this year’s event and the 262nd rider to die while competing in the Isle of Man TT.
Only, a few days later, organizers confirmed that this information wasn’t correct. Instead, it was Chanal who had sadly lost his life during the event.
In a statement released by event organizers this morning, the TT said:
“An initial identification procedure was conducted using established procedures and would appear to have resulted in a mistaken identification.
“We now believe it was César Chanal who died at the scene of the accident on Saturday 4th June. Olivier remains in a critical condition and continues to receive treatment.
“Both competitors’ families have been informed.”
Race officials added that a “thorough review” of the processes that it uses to identify competitors would “take place in due course.”
Organizers confirmed that 35-year-old Lavorel from Sillingy, France, remains in hospital where he is being treated for his injuries. His entry in the 2022 TT marked his first running as a passenger in a sidecar at the event.