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‘Hard decision’ to cancel Southern 100 after two fatalities made ‘in best interests of everyone’

The Clerk of the Course for Billown Circuit, where two people died following an accident in the run up to the 2023 Southern 100, says it was ‘in the best interests of everyone’ to cancel the remainder of the road racing event.

A rider and a marshal - both male but whose identities remain undisclosed - were killed following an incident during a qualifying practice session involving two riders, a marshal and a spectator on Tuesday evening [11 June].

The event was initially suspended to allow police to begin an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision, which occurred close to the start-finish line, but a formal decision was taken on Wednesday [12 June] to cancel the popular annual Manx event altogether.


The Southern 100 - colloquially known as ‘The Friendly Races’ - was due to hold 12 races across various classes until Thursday evening. 

However, with police on the Isle of Man still in the process of piecing together the events that led to the tragedy, the ‘hard decision’ was taken by the clerk of the course, Giles Olley, to halt the event entirely.

"Abandoning an event before you've even started racing is one of the hardest decisions a clerk of the course will have to make, we don't come to it lightly,” he the BBC News.

"We know that a number of people will want to carry on, they enjoyed the sport, they're passionate about it, we had lots of people visiting the island to see it. 

"So it's something that I come to with a heavy heart, but it was in the best interests of everyone involved."

He added: “The number one job" was to ensure the welfare of those involved “comes before everything else.

"And that's entirely why we have to abandon because we need to think first about the people.”

A number of high-profile road racers were due to take part in the event, which is contested on roads close to Castletown around the 4.8-mile Billown Circuit.

Among them was 25-time Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop, defending Southern 100 champion Davey Todd and 2019 Senior TT winner Dean Harrison.

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