LONDON, June 1 (Xinhua) -- The famous TT motor cycle tournament on the Isle of Man, described as one of the most dangerous racing event in the world, has claimed its first victim of 2018.
Tributes poured on Friday for local hero Dan Kneen, 30, who died after sustaining fatal injuries during the Superbike qualifying session.
Last year three riders were killed, bringing to more than 250 the number fatally injured since the event started in the early 1900s.
Thousands of enthusiasts from across the world have converged on the small island half way between England and Ireland in the Irish Sea.
Competitive racing starts Saturday, with the past few days devoted to practice sessions and qualifiers.
Race officials reported how Manxman Kneen was flying during the qualifiers, reaching a lap speed of 213 km/h, slightly up on his best lap set in last year's contest.
Tributes were led by Kneen's father after the rider died later while competing in the Superbike qualifying event.
Richard Kneen said: "Dan lived for his racing, wild horses wouldn't have torn him away from it."
On his social media site, Kneen's father added: "Dan would want us to be strong and for the team to crack on, they have my full backing. Let's think of the happy times with Dan and smile when you think of him. Best wishes for all the other competitors, the TT will go on. RIP my son Daniel Richard Kneen, from Dad".
Kneen made his TT debut on the famous mountain course 10 years ago, with his fastest-ever lap on the same circuit on Tuesday night at 132.258 mph, placing him in third position in the qualifications for the Superbike event."
Race enthusiast and TT blogger Samantha Wanless, said: "The entire road racing community is heartbroken and numb as is the entirety of the Isle of Man. He was setting quick lap times, he seemed comfortable on the bike and everyone was talking about how 'he's on for a podium with laps like that."
Wanless added: "The memories, the legacy - they all live on even through the heartache."