Motorcycle Racing Industry In New Zealand Introduces Drug And Alcohol Testing
The motorcycling event “Battle of the Streets” in Paeroa, New Zealand is one of the most anticipated racing events of the year. However, right before the start of the 2014 race, the annual event would have drastic changes that could send waves to the motorcycle racing industry that even the best synthetic urine couldn’t be leveraged.
The said changes are due to the unfortunate incident wherein Lance Vaughn Lowe, a seasoned competitor, died after crashing his vehicle. Upon medical investigation, it is confirmed that there were traces of “P” or methamphetamine found in Lowe’s blood.
This discovery would lead to the introduction of alcohol and drug testing to the racing events in the Pacific region. The tragedy that transpired started when Lowe was passing Michael Old, his fellow competitor and friend, during a practice lap.
As he was about to take a corner, he was already too wide. He hit the brakes, and this immediately caused his vehicle’s rear wheel to lift up from the ground. Afterward, the bike hit a bump and Lowe lost control of it, resulting in him getting thrown toward the safety barrier.
When Old was approaching, he saw Lowe lying down already. Even though he hit the brakes, traveling at about 140 km per hour made it unavoidable for his bike to hit Lowe. Lowe was given immediate medical help and sent to the hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries four days later.
Consequences and Changes
During the inquest of Coroner Gordon Matenga held at Hamilton, Kent Morrisey, the senior constable of the Waikato police serious crash unit, said that the factors of Lowe’s crash is due to the speed of the bike and the presence of methamphetamine in his blood.
Jim Tuckerman, the president of Motorcycle New Zealand, told the recent inquest that there were already several amended procedures and rules in order to combat the use of alcohol and drugs in the sport. He also stated that Drug-Free Sport New Zealand arranged random testing before the start of the races.
Seeing that the tragic incident happened during the practice runs, there may be lapses in how and when the drug tests are conducted. Still, Tuckerman affirmed that there will be huge changes in the upcoming July.
Many of Lowe’s contemporaries stated that he was a good rider, but two years before his death, he hasn’t been active in the racing scene.
The presence of methamphetamine in Lowe’s blood may be a factor in the crash, but the incident was comprised of a chain of events that led to an unfortunate situation wherein Old had no possible options.
Lowe’s mother accepted it was an accident but was still disheartened by the hate some casual motorcycling fans are throwing.
Coroner Matenga clarified that Old was never to be blamed for the accident since he was put in an ill-fated spot. Racing is a sport that comes with a lot of risks that can endanger one’s life. However, there is still no room for the use of illegal substances as they can compromise safety.