Isle of Man TT: how many deaths have occured at dangerous Isle of Man Tourist Trophy races?

Raul Torras Martinez is the first racer to die at this year's iteration of the most dangerous race in motorsport

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The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race is notoriously dangerous with fatal crashes happening each year. In 2022, the course took the life of Davy Morgan and five others. While this year's iteration has already seen its first death as the 2023 inaugural Supertwin race took the life of Spaniard Raul Torras Martinez.

The event was first held in 1907 with 101 race meets taking place since then. Since 1937, the only year in which races have been held and no fatalities were recorded was in 1982 and a total of 263 fatalities have occured at the Isle of Man TT, the Manx Grand Prix and two of these recorded deaths occured at the 1923 and 1925 Manx Amateur Road Races.

What are the Isle of Man road races?

The Manx Grand Prix motorcyle races are held as part of the Isle of Man TT course every year. It is a two-week event every year and the MGP is considered to be the amateur rider’s alternative and learning experience before the more professional Isle of Man TT.

The Manx Grand Prix tend to be held towards the end of August and early September while the Isle of Man TT is held in May or June.

267 racers have died at the Isle of Man TT - Credit: Getty267 racers have died at the Isle of Man TT - Credit: Getty
267 racers have died at the Isle of Man TT - Credit: Getty

This year, the Isle of Man TT is being held from Monday 29 May with the final taking place on Saturday 10 June 2023.

Bob Heath has achieved the most wins at the Manx Grand Prix (11) while Joey Dunlop is the Isle of Man’s most successful rider with 26 wins to his name. The event is often called one of the most dangerous racing events in the world.

How many Isle of Man TT competitors have died?

A total of 267 competitiors have died since 1911 with England’s Victor Surridge the course’s first victim.

The worst year for the Isle of Man Mountain TT Mountain course was in 2005 when a total of 11 people died during the two main events: four people (three riders and one marshal) died during the Isle of Man’s TT race period in June and another six riders and one bystander died during the MGP in August and September.

The deadliest years for the Isle of Man TT race period in June came in 1970 and 2022 when a total of six people died in each year

Should the competition be banned?

Given the number of deaths that occur at the event and seemingly no end in sight for a solution to help reduce the risks, debates have formed over the years with many calling for the competition to be cancelled completely. However, the other side of the argument, used by most of the riders who partake in the event, is that people are still making the choice to watch and be involved in the race, fully aware of the risks.

What could be reduced is the power of the vehicles used in the events. Over 190 horsepower would be more than enough to power a sports car let alone a 160 kilogram two-wheeled racing bike. Reducing the horsepower of the vehicles is one possibility that could ensure a safer, if not incident free, race.

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