It’s been difficult to escape the news about the deaths on the Jim Clark Rally this past weekend. But the reactions of some leave a lot to be desired.
It’s rare that national level rallying makes headlines with the mainstream media. For it to get a mention on local news is often an achievement in itself. More often the only time motorsport gets any coverage is when something goes wrong, like it did this weekend. The deaths of three spectators is an awful tragedy, and the media reaction has predictably been huge and overbearing.
However, what got to me more was a comment on Twitter, which went along the lines that people should think carefully about making tweets of condolence in relation to the Jim Clark Rally, as it brought negative attention to motorsport. The sentiment seemed that we should essentially gloss over and ignore what had happened, with the idea that if we’re lucky everyone will ignore it and move on quickly. Such a view is at best incredibly naive, and at worst callous and insensitive.
Anyone attending a motorsport event, be it rallying, touring cars, motorbikes, whatever, will usually be met with a sign stating “MOTORSPORT IS DANGEROUS” somewhere. It’s an inescapable reality, and one that cannot be ignored. The simple fact is that motorsport always has been dangerous and, despite the best efforts of organisers, always will be slightly dangerous. As a concept it is inherently risky; moving objects travelling at speed, in close proximity to inanimate objects, is obviously always going to involve some degree of danger. That, in part, is what makes it exciting and what makes people want to go and watch it.
We cannot, as motorsport fans and enthusiasts, simply bury our head in the sands and hope the wider public don’t notice. This incident has been all over the front of the BBC News website since it first happened; a few heartfelt tweets from concerned people is hardly going to bring more attention than there already is. (more…)