TT 2018: ACU announce inquiry into Mercer incident

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ACU Events Ltd, the organising body of the Isle of Man TT has today announced an independent inquiry into the incident which resulted in Steve Mercer’s serious injuries during practice for this year’s event.

Mercer was travelling back to the Grandstand with a group of riders following a red flag incident during Wednesday evening’s practice session when he was involved in a high-speed collision with an official course car en route to the scene of Dan Kneen’s fatal crash. He was taken to Noble’s hospital on the Isle of Man before swiftly being transferred to Liverpool for specialist treatment, where he remains in a serious condition.

The Isle of Man authorities had already announced an investigation into the incident, but ACU Events Ltd has today announced their own inquiry into how it was allowed to happen.

The inquiry will be led by Rob Jones, a lawyer and former chief executive of the Motorsports Association (MSA). He is also a former President of the Ethics Commission of the IFA, motorsport’s world governing body. Jones has experience with such investigations in the past, having lead the MSA’s response into the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the death of four spectators at two rallies in Scotland.  

According to a statement from the ACU, the remit of the inquiry will be “to investigate the events around the incident, identify the lessons to be learnt and make recommendations on any issues around race organisation and safety matters for future events.”

“Our thoughts and best wishes are with Steve Mercer and his family at this difficult time,” said ACU Events chairman Brian Higgins. “We feel it is vital the right lessons are not only learnt but acted upon to ensure the highest possible safety standards at future events. The best way to achieve that is by an independent inquiry.

“In Robert Jones, we have a distinguished and highly experienced motor sport administrator who not only fully understands the issues at stake but is also legally qualified. We clearly need to respect the investigations taking place by other authorities at this time, so at this stage we cannot comment further on the incident itself.”

Mr Jones will interview witnesses and race organisers in the coming weeks before submitting a report with recommendations for future events. It is hoped a conclusion will be reached by the end of summer.

ACU Events Ltd has also confirmed they are providing financial assistance to Steve Mercer’s wife Caroline, enabling her to stay close to Aintree Hospital where he is receiving treatment as the family home is in Kent.  

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing