Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 24 May 2016

North West 200 not the only dangerous sporting event

Telegraph Sport: where the debate gets started

With Frank Brownlow

Published 21/05/2014

Tragedy: Simon Andrews
Tragedy: Simon Andrews

The dangers inherent in road racing and the bravery required of its participants was graphically illustrated at the North West 200 over the weekend.

Whatever steps are taken to make racing on the road at speeds of over 200mph safer, there will always be accidents and the resulting consequences.

Horseracing, specifically jump racing, is another dangerous game ingrained in Ulster's sporting psyche.

But occasionally from the darkest of episodes, a truly uplifting story emerges.

Ulster jockey Jonjo Bright was paralysed in a fall at a point-to-point fixture at Tyrella just over a year ago.

And on Friday week, Down Royal racecourse is staging a fundraising fixture for the Jonjo Bright Trust.

Jonjo, who turned 20 in December, could hardly be blamed if he had become embittered about a sport that had led to him being left is his current plight.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

Jonjo still avidly follows horseracing with a passion.

And yesterday on Twitter he paid his respects to Simon Andrews, the motorbike rider who on Monday died from injuries sustained at the North West 200.

On a brighter note, a rider injured at the North West, Franck Petricola, has been flown home to France to continue his recovery, while Ulster's Michael Pearson has improved following a crash in the Czech Republic.

Clearly, Jonjo can relate to the challenges faced by motorbike road racers.

And you get the impression that, given the chance, young Jonjo would get straight back on the horse.

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