SEPTEMBER 19, 2005
Keeping things in perspective
Motorsport is a dangerous business. And deeply self-absorbed. This can be a problem, particularly when things go wrong, as happened on Sunday morning on the Wales Rally GB when Markko Martin crashed his Peugeot WRC car sideways into a tree in Margam Forest in South Wales. The Estonian's unfortunate co-driver Michael Park was killed in the impact. In such circumstances the sport tends these days to try to be seen to be doing something to improve safety when perhaps one must accept that accidents just happen and by pushing the boundaries of physics racing and rally drivers and their teams sometimes get it wrong. What the sport often forgets is that there are other sports out there in which people die and that the reaction to accidents should be measured and without knee-jerk changes to rules and regulations.
Last weekend, one of the stars of motorcycle racing in Ulster, Richard Britton, was killed in a road race at Ballybunion. A double Irish and Ulster road racing champion, Britton's bike appears to have suffered from some kind of mechanical failure.
And in Newcastle four men died while taking part in the 13-mile Great North Run, the largest half marathon race in the world.
"I can confirm four male participants in the race have died," a police spokesman said. "That is more than the usual one or two - but every year more people are taking part."
If F1or the WRC was killing one or two competitors each and every year, there would be calls for change and if four were killed there would be uproar.
Why is that?
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