Eleven spectators were injured, one seriously, during a crash today in the first lap of the Isle of Man Senior TT motorcycle race. The BBC reported British rider Jonathan Howarth crashed on the fast Bray Hill descent — a popular viewing point near the start — soon after setting off. He was unhurt, but witnesses reported the bike and debris flying into the crowd. (UPDATE: TT organizer ACU Events now says there were 10 injured spectators; four have already been discharged, five are staying in hospital while the another spectator remains under observation. Howarth suffered a minor fracture.)

The race was immediately halted as emergency services rushed to the scene.


Jonathan Howarth walks away from the scene of the accident. (Photo: Belfast Telegraph)

Organizers ACU Events Ltd. released a statement: “Eleven spectators have been taken to hospital with injuries ranging from slight to serious. None are believed to be life-threatening at this time. The police will not be carrying out a full investigation at this stage and it remains a racing incident. The police are currently assisting in clearing the scene and recovering the bike.”

The Belfast Telegraph has a slide show of images of the crash’s aftermath on its web site.

Witnesses took to Twitter immediately after the crash, which happened at around 1 p.m.

SKY News reports one spectator, Phil Bancroft, described how he was “shaking like a leaf” after coming close to being struck by the bike. He tweeted: “Bike heading for me. Just ducked. Hit by bits of bike. Ok tho. I thought I was a goner. Quite horrible it was.”

The race was restarted at 4:30 pm local time.


Jonathan Howarth walks away from the scene of the accident. (Photo: Belfast Telegraph)

The International Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) motorcycling event is generally regarded as the most dangerous in motorcycling, with 240 rider fatalities since 1907. The latest was 43-year-old Japanese Yoshinari Matsushita, who was killed in practice last week. He was the 21st to die at the circuit since 2000.

[Sources: Belfast Telegraph, SKY News, and Reuters]