Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Shorter survives Isle of Man TT

Add a comment
Robbie Shorter, world road race sidecar championships record breaker at Isle of Man TT. 16 July 2015 Bay of Plenty Times Photograph by John Borren BTG 21Jul15 - JOB DONE: Robbie Shorter back
Robbie Shorter, world road race sidecar championships record breaker at Isle of Man TT. 16 July 2015 Bay of Plenty Times Photograph by John Borren BTG 21Jul15 - JOB DONE: Robbie Shorter back

Nowhere in sport is the line between life and death so finely balanced than at the infamous Isle of Man TT course.

Last month Australian sidecar rider Dwight Beare and two other solo riders were killed there bringing the total to 252 competitors, including seven New Zealanders, to lose their lives on the Snaefell Mountain course since 1911.

Tauranga sidecar passenger Robbie Shorter and Auckland driver Colin Buckley were just two bikes behind close friend Beare, 27, and witnessed the carnage.

Shorter, 41, who is married with two young children, says it was devastating.

"You know who it is but you just hope for the best. Sometimes you can look at an accident and know the outcome pretty much and unfortunately he lost his life," Shorter said.

"A lot of people say this place should be banned as people are dying and it is too dangerous.

"But we all know the risks and are prepared to do it.

"No one forces you to go down that road but if you want to test yourself that is the place, the ultimate pinnacle."

Shorter knows he could have been another statistic after he and Buckley crashed during practice at around 170kph.

"It was the first time I have crashed with Colin," Shorter said.

"We were trying pretty hard and unfortunately we got into a position on the road we shouldn't have been in, came through the corner and the bike got airborne and crashed into a wall.

"Luckily we hit the air bag and not the wall.

"It could have been a lot worse. There was a little bit of damage to the bike, bent forks and a disc and bearing damage, but we were pretty lucky to get away with it really.

"There are not many people who crash at that place and walk away.

"Anywhere on that circuit is pretty treacherous. There are not many areas where you are going to get away with it."

#41 Colin Buckley and Robbie Shorter testing for the Sure Sidecar race during the 2015 Isle of Man TT practice week. Tuesday 2nd June 2015. Photo: Dave Ayres - Picturesports BTG 21May16 - TEAM WOR
#41 Colin Buckley and Robbie Shorter testing for the Sure Sidecar race during the 2015 Isle of Man TT practice week. Tuesday 2nd June 2015. Photo: Dave Ayres - Picturesports BTG 21May16 - TEAM WOR

Dave Molyneux, who has won 17 TT titles, loaned the Kiwis a replacement set of forks to get them back into the competition.

Race one was going well for Shorter and Buckley on their K7 Suzuki powered BLR chassis bike before the race was stopped after Beare's crash.

At the restart the Kiwis got off to a flying start in lap one before an electrical fault forced the pair to retire.

"Until people have been around that circuit they won't know how rough and brutal it is," Shorter said.

"It is a battle of attrition for riders and equipment. It shakes you about.

"There are guys with wheel bearings collapsing, motors expiring and for us unfortunately it was a vibrating thing that had broken an ignition wire in the loom.

"You can't plan for that. Up to that point the bike had been running flawlessly."

In race two they finished 11th which Shorter says "was a fantastic result".

He is not sure if he will be back next year for his third consecutive TT event.

"It is on the cards. We are talking with our team Carl Cox Motorsport to get something together to try and go a little bit better next year.

"I don't think we are done with that place."

- Bay of Plenty Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 04 Dec 2016 00:10:10 Processing Time: 1153ms