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Renzo Zorzi - Kyalami 1977


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#1 Roger39

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 14:17

I had the displeasure of been shown Tom Pryce’s fatal accident today and a few things started me thinking. The first is that Renzo Zorzi looks incredibly “highly strung”, I can sort of understand his reaction to the flash fire but once he is finally freed of his oxygen pipe he scurries around and reminds me a lot of Manuel in Fawlty Towers! When the (incredibly lucky) marshal starts spraying into the back of his car it looks like Renzo gets such a fright he could have @#$& himself! Does anybody know what his reaction to the whole incident was? Did anybody find out what the “lucky” marshal thought of the accident, were they told by somebody to cross the track when they did?

As a side note, I was speaking to a regular Kyalami racer a few years ago about this accident. He told me that the fire extinguisher that struck Tom Pryce was found behind the main grandstand, it had come down on to a car and caused quite a bit of damage. He also told me that a little while after the accident there was an exercise done with the marshals at Kyalami, they were gathered on the side of the track down near Crowthorne and were asked how far did they think a car would have to be back up the straight, for them to safely run across and make it to the other side. They then had to run across the track with their fire extinguishers and they were timed. Then they got a car (don’t know what type) to race down the long Kyalami straight and it was also timed....not one of the marshals would have made it.

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#2 Frank Verplanken

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 14:24

Originally posted by Roger39 Did anybody find out what the “lucky” marshal thought of the accident, were they told by somebody to cross the track when they did? [/B]

IIRC the two marshals were young guys and close friends. The surviving one was of course devastated by the sight of his friend's corpse...

#3 COUGAR508

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 19:53

I have seen the footage which has been referred to here. I would say that the reactions of both Zorzi and the marshal can be attributed to shock and disbelief at what they had just witnessed.

#4 Speedy27

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 16:02

This is purely conjecture, but thinking back to the footage, I would have suspected that Zorzi's agitation would have been due to the following factors:

- the fact that there was a fire, which was a serious danger in those days and, if you read what many of the drivers of that era have said, was their biggest fear. Niki Lauda was only months past his accident at that time and this race would result in his first win since the Nurburgring;
- the fact that Zorzi, while trying to get out of the car and away from the fire quickly, was momentarily trapped when battling to detach his helmet from the air hose connected to it;
- the fact that he stopped right next to a part of track where the other cars would have been passing him at speeds of approximately 270km/h and that they were unsighted for all but a few metres before passing him;
- and, possibly, that he was keen to get the fire extinguished before more smoke and fire erupted, which could have left him totally unsighted by the approaching drivers, who may have taken to the outside of the track where he was parked, if faced by smoke and fire on it.

As regards Zorzi's - and I believe many other witnesses to the accident - responses to it, I remember thinking when seeing the footage that at least he was not initially even aware of what had happened, given the incredible speed at which the accident occurred within metres of him and the fact that the remains of the poor marshall, Frederick Jansen van Vuuren, came to rest some way away from where Zorzi's car had stopped.

Again, all this is purely conjecture. What remains and what matters is the tragedy of two wasted lives.

#5 David Lawson

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 16:39

Hasn't this awful accident already been discussed enough in other threads on TNF without having yet more graphic description and conjecture in this thread. I really do not see any value or purpose with this.

David

#6 f1steveuk

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 18:31

Just an observation, but perhaps the adrenalin was flowing? Remember James Hunt floored more than one marshall just after varying types of retirement, and I recall on two occasions, that having been racing for a while, and suddenly stopping (once through mechanical break down and once through parking quickly) when the marshall grabbed my arm it hurt, something I am told can happen when the adrenalin is flowing, it can affect different people in different ways.

#7 bigears

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 19:34

Just a quick question, if Zorzi wasn't rushing about and perhaps stepped out of the car in a calm manner.

Would the marshals still cross the track to his aid?

#8 f1steveuk

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 19:48

While I agree discussion on the accident has been done before, I consider this a discussion on Zorzi's actions, BEFORE the accident.............................

#9 Speedy27

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 01:45

Originally posted by David Lawson
Hasn't this awful accident already been discussed enough in other threads on TNF without having yet more graphic description and conjecture in this thread. I really do not see any value or purpose with this.

David


Perhaps consider that (a) no-one responding to this question knows that it has been discussed elsewhere and that (b) the responses are simply to assist with answering the question that was posted - even though it may make some of the rest of us very uncomfortable too. That is a large part of what this forum is about and, although much newer around here than you are, the appeal of it to me is that it covers motorsport to it's fullest extent - even the awful aspects that sometimes make one question why one is so crazy about it.

If you do not see the value or purpose with this thread, or feel too uncomfortable reading it, move on to the next topic, instead of adding a comment that adds nothing to this one.

#10 stevewf1

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 02:44

Here is a quote from Autocourse 1977-1978.

Renzo Zorzi, running back in 19th spot, pulled his Shadow up halfway down the pit row on the outside of the track when his engine died. As he was climbing out of the car, leaking fuel ignited and he ran clear before thinking to return and press the fire extinguisher button which killed the fire that had virtually died down by itself. Just when the small drama seemed over, two marshals suddenly jumped the pit barrier and ran across the track...



#11 Edington Mains

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 07:49

There are Two camera angles of this incident. the first is the one from the dreadful Italian documentary with the over-dubbed sound etc. that flicks around so much you don't see what Zorzi is doing
there is however the second angle that is filmed from the front of, and focusing on, Zorzi's car and shows his and the Marshals reactions immediately after the impact (fortunately there's no image of the impact just some debris flashing past the lower corner of the screen)..

Anyway, the expressions and body language from the two seem to me to be more 'What was that?' rather than one of horror.. they know something has happened but with all the adrenalin rushing they where possible focused on their own little incident rather than what was happening around them...
then if you do go to the 'Horror' footage, but after the impact, there are more people stood around the front of Zorzi's car but the Marshal and Renzo himself are still stood at the rear, well out of the way, so its a fair bet to say that they had now realised what had happened and just wanted to stay away..

Unfortunately no one had yet realised the fate of Tom all the way down at Crowthorne...

#12 David Lawson

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 07:56

Originally posted by Speedy27


Perhaps consider that (a) no-one responding to this question knows that it has been discussed elsewhere and that (b) the responses are simply to assist with answering the question that was posted - even though it may make some of the rest of us very uncomfortable too. That is a large part of what this forum is about and, although much newer around here than you are, the appeal of it to me is that it covers motorsport to it's fullest extent - even the awful aspects that sometimes make one question why one is so crazy about it.

If you do not see the value or purpose with this thread, or feel too uncomfortable reading it, move on to the next topic, instead of adding a comment that adds nothing to this one.


It is always worth using the search facility before posting something that has already been posted and discussed.

David

#13 smokinbluejay

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 19:16

I did not know Tom Pryce, but am very proud to have been born in his home town of Ruthin, North Wales.

I am happy to report from www.tomprycememorial.com

"In June 2004, Ruthin Town Council wrote to the Anglesey circuit in North Wales to ask whether part of the soon-to-be renovated track could be named in honour of Tom. The newly-named Tom Pryce Straight was used in competition for the first time in 2007.
Meanwhile, on 31 October 2006 a South African motor sport enthusiast called Eddie Knipe wrote to Ruthin Town Council to suggest that they celebrate Tom's life and achievements. The Council enthusiastically agreed and a Trust was established to support the plans for Tom's memorial.
Since, much work has been undertaken to erect a fitting memorial to Tom in 2009, the year of the 60th anniversary of his birth, championed by the Trust and local enthusiasts.
The Trust has gone from strength to strength as plans for a memorial have gathered momentum, and last year it commissioned a local artist to design a 3D plaque measuring 8' x 4' depicting Tom, his life and his background in the Vale of Clwyd.
The designs are done, the location in Ruthin's high street is confirmed and the plaque is now ready to be cast at a North Wales bronze foundry.
The funds raised from this auction will finally allow the supremely gifted Tom to be honoured in the town he so loved."

Edited by smokinbluejay, 06 May 2010 - 19:17.


#14 David McKinney

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 20:25

I realise you're a brand new member, SBJ, but you'll find this a happier place if you use the "search" facility at the top of the page

eg:
http://forums.autosp...wtopic=91347

Welcome anyway - and don't let me put you off :)