New tyre guidance following Manx Grand Prix death

A man smiling with sunglasses in a blue TT racing suit
Gary Vines died in Noble's Hospital following a crash at Ballagarey in Glen Vine [MGP]

A Manx Grand Prix competitor died from multiple injuries after losing control of his bike, which had a six-year-old front tyre, an inquest has heard.

Gary Vines, 33, crashed during the opening qualifying session for the event on 20 August last year after being unable to regain the racing line at Ballagarey in Glen Vine.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, coroner James Brooks said the welder from Colchester would have been “much more likely” to have recovered the wide position had he been using different tyres.

Douglas Courthouse heard new guidance on tyres had been introduced by the event organisers ACU Events Limited for all motorcycle road racing events on island following the incident.

The inquest heard Mr Vines died in Noble's Hospital after suffering injuries that were “not survivable”.

A deputy sector marshal who witnessed the crash said the 33-year-old had been approaching Ballagarey on his first lap of the qualifying session with his position on the course described as “wide”.

The court heard Mr Vines was not going excessively fast but he was leaning “heavily” over to the right before his machine “tipped over” leading him to collide with a barrier.

New rules

A technical director who inspected the machine said it was in full working order prior to the crash, but noted that one tyre dated back to 2017.

He told the court the front tyre had some defects which pre-existed the incident and “may have been a contributing factor” to the crash.

Clerk of the course Gary Thompson confirmed in his written statement that prior to the crash no guidance was given on the age of tyres, only that they be “suitable” for racing.

Mr Thompson said that in future tyres would need to be under three years old, unless they were inspected and approved.

In his verdict, Mr Brooks noted the tyre was both over five years old and had previously been used for short circuit racing.

He said it was “not a suitable choice of tyre” and “had less grip than Gary would’ve believed it had”.

The tyre would likely now not pass inspections and he welcomed the changes already implemented by the event organisers, who also arrange other road racing meetings on the island, Mr Brooks said.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, he offered his condolences to Mr Vines' family and friends.

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