Oil on Manx course blamed for crash that killed David Jefferies

OIL on the course almost certainly caused the Isle of Man crash which killed Bradford superbike legend David Jefferies, 30, an inquest heard.

New Zealand TT newcomer Daniel Jansen's bike blew up on the approach to the Crosby bend on his first practice lap on May 29, filling the road with oily smoke, the inquest, held on the island, was told.

Adam Nowell, riding behind Jansen, said he was covered from head to foot in oil coming from the smoke vapour but carried on riding the lap.

Marshal Arnie Withers left the post he was sharing with his daughter and fellow marshal Helen to check along the road for oil and other debris.

He did not see any and so when the two leaders, Adrian Archibald and Mr Jefferies, came along four minutes later he did not flag them down.

Mr Archibald, who went on to win the formula one and senior races this year, was riding in front of his teammate and did not know anything was wrong until he got back to the grandstand.

Mr Jefferies, doing 180mph, came to the scene and immediately crashed, bringing down telegraph wires. Rider Jim Moodie, 30 seconds behind him, got caught up in the wires and was also injured. Others, including three times TT winner John McGuinness, then stopped and ran back down the road to stop the rest of the bikers.

They and other witnesses told the inquest there was a light spray of oil on the road.

Mr McGuiness criticised officials and said the practice should have been stopped immediately after the bike exploded. "If it was a British Championship or Superbike event they would have stopped the event immediately and then gone and assessed the track."

After the accident Mr With-

ers also noticed oil and concluded it came from Jansen's bike. He told the inquest: "If I'd known there was oil on the road I would have run up to the highest point of the road and waved my flag at that time. Certainly after this experience I would wave a flag every time."

Coroner Michael Moyle concluded Mr Jefferies had died of multiple injuries and recorded a verdict of misadventure. He said he was sure he was aware of the inherent dangers in motorcycle racing.

David Jefferies, a nine times TT winner and the lap record holder, was the only rider in TT history to complete three consecutive triple wins and was the reigning National Superstock Champion. Bikers from all over Britain attended his funeral in Baildon in June.