Isle of Man TT riders know they are dicing with death – it's their choice and snowflakes should never be allowed to stop it

DALEY MATHISON'S fatal crash during the opening race of the 2019 Isle of Man TT raises the debate as to whether the event should be allowed to continue.

Incredibly, the father of one was the 256th person to lose their life on the Mountain Course since 1911.

That statistic alone should have Health and Safety chiefs flocking to Douglas in a clamour with their clipboards demanding that the race be shut down.

It is after all, understandably dangerous and involves motorsport and, as we know in this snowflake world, neither of the two are tolerated.

Which is exactly the same reason why the Isle of Man TT race should continue to go ahead each year.
First, let us get one thing clear. All the riders know the risks of competing in the TT.

I spoke to the 2018 winner of the Senior TT, Peter Hickman, before his victory last year and he had some strong words on the subject of whether the race should continue to be staged.

Last June he told me: "The risks are part of what makes it exciting, the spectators know it as well, and everyone watching.
"It's not something we necessarily think about, but we know it's there, we're not stupid.

There is no-one holding a gun to our head to be here. We're here because we want to be here.

"It's a challenge to finish and it's an even bigger one to win. We don't tend to avoid talking about it but we don't necessarily bring it up either.

"If something happens that we think 'hang on, that could have been avoided', then we will all talk and put it to the organisers.

"But at the end of the day, we're road racing, these are streets, this is what it's about.

"The TT is the longest race in history at 112 years, I don't think it'll be stopping any time soon."

You can also forget about the notion that they are only willing to risk their lives for the bumper prize money.

When Hickman won last year, he picked up a cheque for under £20,000 for winning the main event.

Yes, that is not to be sniffed at, but factor in the flights, transport, hotel costs and you'll see that no rider is competing in the TT for money.

Is actually for the thing money cannot buy.

It is for the thrill of pushing their motorcycle to its limits over the 37.73mile lap which has 219 turns.

As a motorcycle rider, it was breath-taking seeing those competitors handle their bikes at over 200mph through regular roads with barely any crash barriers.

People, non-riders especially, will label them bonkers, but if anything on my experience, it could not be further from the truth.

They aren't crazy, stupid or have a death wish. They have a sharp mind and reactions to negotiate the famous road race.

They also express the same love for taking on the challenge of the Mountain Course while full-well knowing the risks at stake.

And if they are happy, and the people coming to watch them are happy too, then why should they not be left alone.

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