The Loss Of Ian Bell

I’ve just learned that sidecar racer Ian Bell was killed in an incident during the Isle of Man TT sidecar 2 race today. He was a long-known name to me, always near the front of the field and his trademark red/yellow/blue colors were instantly recognizable.  Ian first raced the TT in 1995, while I was still in high school and four years before I had ever heard of the Isle of Man, or sidecar racing for that matter. He raced with his son Carl as co-pilot, who was reported as uninjured.

In 2013 I and Gina went over to the TT and I remember Ian being one of the famous names I didn’t get to meet. The sidecar paddock was amazingly friendly and I felt at home immediately in any pit space I walked into; I’m sure Ian would have been the same.

This year has seen a heavy toll on sidecars, with race 1 being red flagged for the fatal crash of driver Dwight Beare (his co-pilot Ben Binns was injured but stable). It is an obvious and well known risk at the Isle of Man TT, and is part of what makes it such a stand out event, but that does not make death any less shocking or unexpected than if it happened slipping in the shower.

I wish to give my heartfelt condolences to Ian and his family, but also to the sidecar racing community as a whole and to all those who head down Bray Hill each year… this loss is of more than just a man. Godspeed.

Read a 2003 interview with Ian Bell


Photo modified from a Dave Kneen original.

2 thoughts on “The Loss Of Ian Bell

  1. BORIS STROUD (1415708) says:

    Our Family have lost one of our own, to be a sidecar racer is like having your own extended family near and far. The loss of a brother or sister is the same in our little family globally felt by all . I raced against Ian many years ago, true gent and one who would have helped you fix a problem with no fuss. I am sure I can talk from the heart here, we all love our sport of racing sidecars and solos for that matter it still never makes it that easy to accept. My deepest and sincere condolence go out to the Bell Family our thoughts are with you all and that of all those who lost life this year at the TT.


  2. Kelly Bell US West Coast Sidecar Racers Pesident says:

    Amen Johnny, he was one that stood out and we watched and rooted him on. I remember i,terviews with him, he was so humble and just a great guy. It is a sad sad day to have lost another heart one and not to make the other losses any the less but he will be missed. My heart sank when I heard about him today and had to walk out of work for a moment to myself. As you said, we all know the rsiks but yet I’m always So amazed and shocked when I hear about it. What you wrote was so heart felt Johnny and all sidecar racers hear thank you for putting into words so poetically what we can not. God Bless.


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