Monday 23 October 2017

'I want to make history' - Irish biker who was killed at event

Alan Bonner
Alan Bonner Sportsdesk

Alan Bonner, 33, died at an Isle of Man TT Races qualifying session yesterday afternoon after crashing at the 33rd Milestone on the Mountain section.

Bonner is the third road racer to die at this year's event following the deaths of Jochem van den Hoek and Davey Lambert who both passed away after crashes earlier this week.

Race organisers ACU Ltd passed on their sympathies to Bonner's family, and his fiancée Gemma, with the qualifying session red flagged and subsequently postponed until Thursday following his passing.

A statement on the Isle of Man TT Facebook page read:

"ACU Events Ltd regrets to announce that Alan Bonner, 33, from County Meath in the Republic of Ireland died this afternoon during a qualifying session at the Isle of Man TT Races.

"Alan was involved in an incident at the 33rd Milestone during the qualifying session for the Senior TT.

"Alan made his TT mountain course debut at the 2014 TT Races and had a highest placed finish of fifteenth, which he achieved in the 2015 Senior TT. He finished 28th in the Superbike race last Sunday 4th June, winning a bronze replica and also finished 30th in this morning’s Superstock race, winning another bronze replica.

"He was the fastest ever TT rider from the Republic of Ireland with a lap of 127.090mph which he achieved in 2015.

"ACU Events Ltd wishes to pass on its deepest sympathy to Alan’s partner Gemma and his family and friends."

The Stamullen native was riding for Swords-based team Noel Williamson Racing whom he had joined earlier this year.

Bonner was a frequent competitor at Irish national road races and was the Irish road race Senior Support champion in 2010.

He was previously in a coma at the Royal Victoria Hospital in August 2015 following a crash at the Dunrod course in Co. Antrim, where he broke his back and sternum as well as losing his spleen.

Bonner claimed then that his life was saved by 'something of a blackspot' on the course which he felt had warranted the introduction of safety measures.

In an interview with The Herald  back in March, Bonner told Eamon Carr that his life was saved by bales of hay on the course and that he thought his career may have been over following the crash.

"I was lucky," said Bonner at the time.

There were hay bales there. But when you hit them at the speed, as I did, it's like hitting a wall. I was in a brace for three months. I was lying on my couch thinking my career was over.

"The bike I had was one I'd bought myself. It cost me 20 grand and I shattered it into three bits. So I had nothing."

Bonner said that the Isle Of Man TT was his main goal for the superbike season and that he had hoped to break into the top ten at the event.

He said that he was aiming to break the 130 mph barrier at the race after surpassing the 127 mph mark back in 2015, adding that he was just starting to reach his potential in the sport.

"I feel I haven't come close to reaching my potential yet," added Bonner.

"If I didn't give it my best shot, I'd always regret it. I've put so much of my life into it".

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