The Isle of Man woke this morning still coming to terms with the tragic loss of Dan Kneen, the Manx rider who succumbed to injuries sustained in a crash at Churchtown on the opening lap of Wednesday evening’s practice session around the Mountain Course.
After many years as a privateer, as well as spells with Mar-Train Yamaha and Padgett’s Honda, the 30-year-old had got his big break in 2018 having signed for Tyco BMW and was expected to be a major contender at all of the International road races in 2018. He’d also secured a deal to ride for Jackson Racing in the Supersport category.
Born into a racing family – his Dad Richard and uncles Mike and Phil were all successful racers – Dan first came to prominence at the 2008 Manx Grand Prix when, aged just 21, he became the first, and only rider to win three races in a week after taking victory in the Newcomers, Ultra-Lightweight and Junior races.
He moved up to the TT the following year, taking a best finish of tenth, and in 2010 scored an impressive fifth place in the opening Supersport race. From that moment on, he was ever present on the leaderboard at the TT, taking no less than 15 top ten finishes and winning no less than 27 silver and 4 bronze replicas.
Dan achieved his maiden podium position at the TT in last year’s Superstock race, where he also recorded his fastest official lap of the Mountain Course at 130.347mph. On Tuesday this week, he comfortably bettered that with a lap of 132.258mph and was clearly going to be a contender for race honours this week.
He was equally as successful elsewhere on the roads, with his sole International road race victory coming in the 2014 Ulster Grand Prix Superstock race where he got the better of Dean Harrison by just 0.001s, the closest finish in the history of the event. Last year saw him take two more podiums around the Dundrod circuit when he made his debut for the Tyco BMW team as a replacement for the injured Ian Hutchinson.
Meanwhile, he finished second in the feature Southern 100 Solo Championship race in both 2015 and 2017 and is currently the second fastest rider ever around the Billown circuit with a lap of 115.616mph set last year.
Although more instantly known for his road racing exploits, Dan was also an accomplished short circuit racer, finishing fourth in the 2009 Metzeler National Superstock 600cc Championship and second in the 2010 British Supersport Cup. Earlier this year, he took three top ten finishes at the opening round of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship at Donington Park, including a best finish of fourth.
On a personal note, I had the pleasure and privilege as working as Dan’s Press Officer between 2012 and 2015 and throughout he was nothing but professional, helpful, courteous and appreciative and whether it was for this website, a magazine or programme feature or simply a chat in the paddock, he always gave up his time willingly to assist.
Everyone at bikesportnews.com wishes to pass on their deepest condolences to Dan’s partner Leanne and his family and friends at this sad time.