I was looking for information on magnesium, which led to motorcycle wheels, which led to wheel failure and testing, which led to crashes, which led to this story wherein the author makes a couple of good points. I was going to just pull the quotes, but I think the context helps..
MICHAEL CALVIN in The Indpendent,
SUNDAY 09 JUNE 2013
Robert Dunlop's last conscious act was to jam on the front brake. There had been a puff of smoke as his motorbike seized at 160mph and slewed sideways. He was launched over the handlebars on to the road, where he was struck by a pursuing rider. He died from severe chest injuries that evening. He was 47.
Thirty-six hours later Michael, his youngest son, won the race for which his father had been practising, the North West 200. His suppressed grief mutated into anger. In the five years since, he has ridden with a disconcerting fury and a grim sense of destiny. He has been on the ragged edge. Perhaps he will find peace in the achievements of the past week. Michael won four TT races on the Isle of Man, and surpassed his father's record. In another reminder that death wraps itself around his sport like a creeping vine, it earned him the trophy named in honour of Joey Dunlop, his late uncle.
Joey, a monosyllabic publican from Ballymoney, is biking's warrior king. No one has won more TT races, 26. He, too, died in competition, when he crashed into trees in Estonia after losing control on a rutted road sluiced by torrential rain. There were 50,000 at his funeral yet, to millions, the pursuit to which he gave his life is beyond redemption.
Had someone come up with the notion of the Tourist Trophy races in 2007, instead of 1907, the event simply would not have been allowed. It challenges the orthodoxy of the nanny state, defies the panoply of risk assessments, liability waivers, health and safety officers and ambulance-chasing lawyers.
Road racing is a world in which mundane objects and everyday occurrences are deadly. A dog off the leash, a patch of melted Tarmac or an ill-positioned telephone box can kill. Contact with a dry-stone wall, a telegraph pole or a traffic sign is usually fatal.
Its heroes are the wraiths of international sport, relentlessly ordinary men capable of consistently extraordinary acts of bravery and precision. Many sleep in caravans, tents or lock-up garages – the antithesis of the airbrushed stars of Formula One.
This is hardcore, and difficult to defend when the safety of spectators is compromised, as it was on Friday. Jonathan Howarth from Barnsley was little more than 10 seconds into his first TT race when he lost control on the descent of Bray Hill.
His bike disintegrated on impact with the kerb. A wheel and the petrol tank span into the crowd congregated beside a burger van. He slid on his belly into a lamppost. Remarkably, he suffered only minor fractures, and walked away. Eleven spectators were taken to hospital.
Rumours spread disconcertingly until an official announcement that no injuries were life-threatening triggered applause from fans around the 37¾-mile mountain course. This will sound callous, but there was "only" one death this year.
Yoshinari Matsushita, from Japan, who crashed at Ballacrye in practice, was the 21st rider to perish this century, the 240th victim of the TT since its inception. Death has no dominion when it is so common, but these men deserve our respect. They are important because they provide a bulwark against the sanitisation of sport, the mediocrity of conformity.
They ride at speeds of up to 200mph on the edge of reason and adhesion. The money is minimal and the motivation is difficult to articulate. John McGuinness, who won the restarted race, admits: "You don't care about anything but getting on the bike and riding."
I've had breakfast with these men, and wondered whether they would be alive at lunchtime. They are terrifying to watch. Michael Dunlop was once asked why he rode so fiercely. His reply said it all: "Because I'm a Dunlop."
10 hours ago