Mercer crash report still unavailable one year on

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Mercer in action last year before the crash
Mercer in action last year before the crash Picture: Impact Images

TT 2019 came to a fittingly dramatic end with Dean Harrison’s victory in Friday’s Senior TT also giving Kawasaki their first win in the blue riband event of the week since Mick Grant in 1975.

Following one the wettest TTs in history, it was a shortage of water which slowed Peter Hickman’s BMW giving Harrison his opportunity. It was the only full length race of a week in which the clouds parted sufficiently to allow a day and a half of racing.

But if the clouds did give way for a brief period one did remain. A year ago in one of the most bizarre but horrible incidents in the history of the TT a group of riders, practice having been red-flagged, were allowed to return to the start but in the opposite direction to the usual course.

They met a course car heading towards the accident in which Dan Kneen was killed and it collided with Steve Mercer, causing critical injuries from which he is still not fully recovered. The others, including Dan Cooper, James Cowton, Ivan Lintin, Ian Lougher, Jamie Coward and Daley Mathison, escaped more or less unscathed.

New rules were recently announced by the ACU, including imposing a speed limit on course cars, continuance of the ban on riders travelling in the ‘wrong’ direction and more training for marshals, officials and riders. Gary Thompson, one of, if not the, most senior member of the ACU hierarchy, was confirmed as Clerk of the Course. In this wettest of all weeks, he promised to make history by running five races in one day to reduce the rain induced log jam and it worked.

What has not appeared, even to Steve Mercer’s family, is the full report from an independent investigation carried out at the request of the ACU by Rob Jones, a former Chief Executive of the Motor Sport Association. This has caused the family to protest and their cause has been taken up by the local press in the Isle of Man resulting in considerable irritation within the ACU.

Headlines such as “TT Investigation Kept Secret” have appeared to which the ACUs response has been: ”We are not able to comment” and making reference to potential legalities. This is almost certainly because of the possibility of legal action and lawyers advice will have been taken. No further news on the publication of the report, currently in the hands of the ACU and the IoM government, has been forthcoming.

The whole affair took a new twist this week following the fatal accident of Daley Mathison, one of the riders in the group. Mercer tweeted this tribute to the rider: ”He massively helped save my life. He undid my helmet strap as it was strangling me and also helped stop me bleeding to death. I’ll be forever grateful for what he did. Thank you Daley. RIP.”