Belfast Telegraph

North West 200: Riders love the sport, that's why they take the risks

By Bill Kennedy

I know first-hand what it's like for the family left behind. I still miss him every day but wild horses would not stop Frank (Bill's brother, killed at the North West 200 in 1979) from racing and the same goes for those who do it now.

It is dangerous – there's no question about it – but people love it, they love taking part in it and going to watch it and all of them know the risks.

I liken it to young pilots during the Second World War.

They headed out knowing they might never return, and some didn't. But those who did return, it didn't stop them going back out the next day.

To a certain extent road racers are similar.

They have that determination, will to win and desire to compete.

Safety-wise, I would be as critical as anybody.

The organisers of the North West do everything in their power to make it as safe as possible and safety in road racing is better than it has ever been.

Massive strides have been made in terms of road inspections and the set-up of the tracks. That is an ongoing process and will continue to improve.

There are detailed safety plans drawn up, councils are involved, and everything that can be done is being done.

But it doesn't matter how much you do, there will always be an element of risk and the potential for the type of tragic accident Simon Andrews had at the weekend.

It was the same as my brother who had a high-speed accident at 170mph.

Frank loved racing and he lived life to the full.

He didn't want to lose his life doing something he loved but he didn't want to stop either.

  • Bill Kennedy is the clerk of the course for the Armoy Road Races

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