James Cowton Dies After Multi-Bike Southern 100 Crash

Isle of Man TT competitor James Cowton died following a multi-bike crash Thursday, July 12, during the Southern 100 road race, which is held on the Billown Circuit near Castletown on the Isle of Man. Like the Isle of Man TT, the Southern 100 is held on closed public roads.

The 26-year old of Driffield, England, was competing in the 600cc Challenge race aboard his McAdoo Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R when the four-rider crash occurred at Stadium Bends – a section close to the 4.25-mile circuit’s finish line.

James Cowton Dead at 26 After Southern 100 Crash
James Cowton during Supertwin qualifying for 2018 North West 200

Cowton died at the scene. The other riders involved were:

  • Ivan Lintin, who is in critical condition
  • James Coward, shoulder injuries
  • Mickey Evans, leg and arm injuries

A statement from the Southern 100 Motorcycle Racing Club organizers said: “Southern 100 Racing extends it sincere condolences to family, relatives and friends of James Cowton at this very sad time.

“The organizers are carrying out a full investigation in conjunction with Isle of Man Constabulary into the circumstances of the incident on behalf of the Coroner of Inquests.”

Cowton became the 29th rider to die on the Billown Circuit since racing began there in 1957. The circuit also hosts the Pre-TT Classic Races.

Cowton was no stranger to international road racing. He made his Isle of Man racing debut during the 2012 Manx Grand Prix, winning the Newcomers Race. His first Isle of Man TT event was in 2014, and he finished third in the Lightweight race.

This year, he took a Supertwin win at the North West 200, a race that sidelined 23-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness last year after a nasty crash. Cowton’s best finish at this year’s TT was fourth during the TT Zero.

James Cowton Dead at 26 After Southern 100 Crash with three other riders
James Cowton aboard the Kawasaki ZX-6R

Cowton’s death is one of four this year in international road racing. Six days ago William Dunlop – the nephew of the late Joey Dunlop and son of the late Robert Dunlop (both died in motorcycle racing crashes) – died during the Skerries 100 in Dublin. During the Isle of Man TT, Kan Kneen and Adam Lyon were also killed during motorcycle accidents.

Many riders offered condolences across social media, including McGuinness, who tweeted: “I really couldn’t find the right words to say when we lost William [Dunlop] then more terrible news about young James today.

“All can is I was there today watching the boys do what they do, loving every second. 2 super talented lads RIP fingers crossed for Ivan. We look so selfish at times, we just can’t help it, my thoughts and prayers are with family and friends tonight.”

The staff at Ultimate Motorcycling expresses its deepest sympathy for James Cowton’s family and friends, and the motorcycle racing community.