Belfast Telegraph

Liam Beckett: I'm putting brakes on racing after death of William Dunlop

Writing in his Sunday Life column, Liam Beckett reveals he will take an indefinite break from road racing following the death of his close friend William Dunlop

By Liam Beckett

Having given some serious thought and consideration, as well as seeking the trusted opinion of my family and close friends, it's with a very heavy heart that I've decided to take an indefinite break from road racing.

I genuinely feel it would be best if I took some time out now in order to collect my thoughts and then see where it takes me.

The recent spate of fatalities and serious injuries in the sport, compounded by the absolutely tragic loss of one so close to me as William Dunlop, has left me with a dagger in my heart and it's going to take time for that wound to heal. How long that will take I honestly do not know.

I have discussed this at length with William's mum Louise and she has been a source of great strength and encouragement to me towards making whatever my final decision should be, particularly in her own time of need.

Road racing is in my blood and I am still so full of admiration for all of those involved in the sport, quite simply they are my type of people.

But at this particular moment in time I feel it's now time to let my head rule my heart and not the other way round.

I was due to be in the BBC Radio Ulster commentary box to cover the two days racing scheduled at the Ulster Grand Prix in a few weeks' time but I have already informed my bosses of my unavailability simply because the events of recent weeks are still very raw, and therefore I know I would really struggle to be professional, totally dedicated or indeed try to sound excited when quite honestly my heart is still breaking. 

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William with his brother Michael

Nevertheless, I know I will still have a lump in my throat when the road race family and the competitors all come together to take part in the last remaining road races because they too are human and they too will be feeling the pain and grief of what has been a shocking spell for the sport.

However, hopefully that old saying that time is a great healer will bear fruit as I sincerely hope to find the urge and desire to make a return to road racing at some stage, but at the minute, and on a personal basis, I would find it impossible.

In the meantime, can I please wish everyone who is part of the entire road racing family all the very best and good luck for the future, but above all can I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable finish to the road racing season.

May the man above watch over them.

Belfast Telegraph

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