In recent years, the issue of safety in the motorcycle world has been a hot topic, with the implementation of many interventions to make the sport as safe as possible. Nevertheless, the latest fatal accident that has occurred in Brazilian Superbike reminds us of the real truth, that motorcycle racing is dangerous. But the death of Matheus Barbosa at Interlagos could have been easily avoided.
A championship way too dangerous
Barbosa raced in Brazilian Superbike, one of the world’s most dangerous championships unfortunately. Over a season, the reigning class runs seven of ten rounds at Interlagos, a track that over the last three years has cost the life of four riders.
One of the few championships that doesn’t fall under the auspices of the FIM, the track’s (few) run off areas have no air fencing in front of the barriers to help soften any impacts, while there is not even a minimum standard for leathers and helmets. A problem that young rider Arianna Barale is also aware of, having suffered a similar accident at Mugello.
No such thing as too much safety
As we’ve said, motorcycling is a dangerous sport and however hard we work on safety, there will always be a degree of risk. In the case of Barbosa, perhaps air fencing and an airbag on his leathers wouldn’t have been enough to save him, but we’ll never know now, as it’s too late.
Accidents occur everywhere and there is always a risk. Sepang, for example, is a track with the hightest safety standards in the world, but it has still seen several fatal accidents. But work never ceases at a track like that.
There is work to increase safety at road circuits too, like Macau for instance, which many consider to be the most dangerous of all. Following the death of Daniel Hegarty, an air fence was erected at Fisherman's Bend and this saved Ben Wylie’s life the very next year.
Wherever it may be, an incident will always serve as an important lesson. In Brazil right now, that’s not the case. A track that has seen more victims than the TT over the last two years is simply unacceptable.
Translated by Heather Watson