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#1 biercemountain

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Posted 20 September 2002 - 20:21

While lists devoted to racing drivers who gave their life doing what they love are fairly common, I started wondering about the poor fans that have lost their lives while watching motorsport.

Has anyone ever compiled a list of such losses?

Driver fatalities are an understandable part of a sport that is all about racing on the ragged edge, but I think it's especially sad when an innocent spectator loses their life. :cry:

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#2 StickShift

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Posted 20 September 2002 - 20:28

Whoa, Deja vu. I would've sworn I saw this post in the TNF a while ago.

#3 John B

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Posted 20 September 2002 - 22:25

There have been 3 such accidents at open wheel superspeedway CART/IRL events since 1987 alone.

F1's escape was 1982, when Jochen Mass got launched into a spectator area at Paul Ricard but no one was killed. Pironi had landed there earlier in a testing crash.

I remember watching the 1987 Talladega race live when Bobby ALlison went sailing along the catch fence. For a nasty moment I thought it was going right into the trioval crowd. Restrictor plates came out pretty quickly after that...




Some discussion of the subject here at TNF...

http://atlasf1.com/b...&threadid=25705

#4 StickShift

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Posted 20 September 2002 - 22:37

iirc, a few fans died when a wheel from Adrian Fernandez's car flew over the fence and hit them in the last 15 laps of the race at Michigan (or was it Fontana?).

#5 Slyder

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 00:52

Not the car, actually the right front wheel was the part that flew into the grandstand

Another wheel in a multicar pileup in the IRL race at charlotte that same year also caused the death of 3 spectators and a minor seriously injured. the race was canceled and the IRL didn't race on Charlotte anymore.

#6 ehagar

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 02:58

Adrian Fernandez in Michigan. Can't remember the year exactly.

Some F-1 accidents that immediately come to mind are Gilles Villeneuve in Fuji and the Spanish Grand Prix at Montjuich Park.

There must be several other examples in F-1 alone.

#7 StickShift

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 04:42

Was anyone killed at Suzuka '96 when JV's tire flew into the crowd?

#8 ehagar

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 06:00

No. There was a second catch fence before the spectators.

#9 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 08:08

What about the start line collision at the beginning of the ill-fated 1994 San Marino GP? Wheels went all over the place on that occasion and people were injured. Some reports mentioned that an Italian policeman/fan had been killed/seriously injured by a flying wheel. Was there a fatality or not?

#10 dbltop

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 08:22

The Michigan fatalities happened in 1999. We went to the race in 2000, and i'll admit I was a tad nervous.

#11 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 08:44

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
What about the start line collision at the beginning of the ill-fated 1994 San Marino GP? Wheels went all over the place on that occasion and people were injured. Some reports mentioned that an Italian policeman/fan had been killed/seriously injured by a flying wheel. Was there a fatality or not?


Yes, just the one Italian spectator, who was 27 but i can't find his name.
TTBOMK, that was the last spectator death in F1 if you don't include marshals.

#12 Buford

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 18:09

I think it was 1987 at Indy when a wheel killed a guy on the top row of the 4th turn grandstand. Gilles Villeneuve killed I think 4 spectators in Japan. Dan Gurney killed one at Spa in 1960 I think. 13 or 14 were killed at Monza in 1961 in the Von Trips crash. Many were burned but no deaths at Indy in 1973. Mario Andretti and somebody collided and the other car killed 5 at Sebring one year. In 1939 or 1940 a wheel at Indy went over the wall and killed a kid who was playing in his front yard across the street. Four spectators were killed in the Gordon Reid sprint car crash at Dayton I think it was in the early 1950s.

#13 917k

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 18:43

Originally posted by Richie Jenkins


Yes, just the one Italian spectator, who was 27 but i can't find his name.
TTBOMK, that was the last spectator death in F1 if you don't include marshals.


Unless the authorities covered this thing up,the spectator was not killed,as far as I know.
[In fact I'm pretty much certain.]

#14 917k

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 18:45

If you want to include rallying,worldwide,this thread would be 10 pages long.

#15 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 20:19

Gurney's crashing BRM was in the Dutch GP of 1960 - not at Spa - and the unfortunate victim, who had got into a prohibited area, was a luckless 18-year old from Haarlem, named Jan Alders I am told. Baghetti's crashing Ferrari at Le Mans 1965ish killed three spectators I seem to recall - who similarly had penetrated a prohibited area...???

DCN

#16 Buford

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Posted 21 September 2002 - 23:25

Thanks Doug. I knew it was Zanvoort. I was not paying attention when I typed Spa.

#17 indysteve

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 02:33

Originally posted by Buford
In 1939 or 1940 a wheel at Indy went over the wall and killed a kid who was playing in his front yard across the street.

It was 1931. Billy Arnold crashed in turn 4 while leading the race, and one of his wheels went over the wall and across Georgetown Road. Wilbur Brink, 11 years old, was struck and killed by the wheel in his front yard. I visited Wilbur's grave just a few weeks ago.

#18 Jim Thurman

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 02:36

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Gurney's crashing BRM was in the Dutch GP of 1960 - not at Spa - and the unfortunate victim, who had got into a prohibited area, was a luckless 18-year old from Haarlem, named Jan Alders I am told. Baghetti's crashing Ferrari at Le Mans 1965ish killed three spectators I seem to recall - who similarly had penetrated a prohibited area...???


That's one thing in common with many of the spectator fatalities, the spectators in question were in restricted, prohibited and/or unprotected areas.

I remember the debate and the feelings of some over including the names of spectator fatalities in the thread where Doug was seeking info on the teenager killed at Zandvoort.

Nevertheless, Ed Watson's "Tribute" attempts to lists spectator deaths in the U.S. as well, including some of those brought up in this thread.


Jim Thurman

#19 pancho

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 10:37

I seem to recall a number of spectators being killed in a grisley crash in Cuba in the mid-fifties. There is footage of the incident taken from a camera positioned directly over the area. I believe Juan Manuel Fangio had been scheduled to compete in this race, but was prevented from doing so on account of his kidnapping!

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#20 scheivlak

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 11:31

Originally posted by pancho
I seem to recall a number of spectators being killed in a grisley crash in Cuba in the mid-fifties. There is footage of the incident taken from a camera positioned directly over the area. I believe Juan Manuel Fangio had been scheduled to compete in this race, but was prevented from doing so on account of his kidnapping!


quote from http://www.grandprix...pe/cir-014.html :
"The other major event in the Caribbean in the 1950s was on a street circuit in Havana, Cuba. The first event was held in February 1957 and used the famous Malecon Avenue, which runs along the waterfront in Havana. It was won by Juan-Manuel Fangio. The following year Fangio returned and the event gained worldwide recognition when the Argentine was taken hostage from a downtown hotel by Fidel Castro's guerillas trying to draw attention to their struggle to overthrow the government of Fulgencio Batista. The race attracted a crowd of 200,000 people but it turned into a disaster when local driver Armando Garcia Cifuentes crashed his Ferrari into the crowd, killing six people and injuring 30."

These are some contemporary stories about Fangio's kidnap:
http://www.rose-hulm...NYT-2-24-58.htm
http://www.rose-hulm...NYT-2-26-58.htm

#21 biercemountain

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 12:13

Originally posted by 917k
If you want to include rallying,worldwide,this thread would be 10 pages long.


That I'm not suprised about. I'll bet more spectators have died watching rallying than drivers have competeing in it.

Wasn't there a spectator fatality at an F3000 race a few years back? I saw a video of it on the "spectacular crash" thread that was running a few months ago. Poor guy got floored by an erant Cosworth if I'm not mistaken.

#22 Barry Boor

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 13:57

I imagine you mean Alan McNish's crash at Donington around 1990. The car somersaulted over the low wall that runs alongside the straight after Coppice Corner.

IIRC it was a marshal who was killed rather than a spectator (I stand to be corrected on that one) and the car finished up somewhere around a spectator underpass.

I was there that day but from the exit of the Old Hairpin, was not aware of the accident at all and naturally, the public address played the matter down.

#23 Slyder

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 15:07

The old Hairpin?

strange, since you would've seen it, the crash happened directly before the Old hairpin did it?

or am I mistaking myself with the new hairpin? :drunk:

#24 Slyder

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 15:09

BTW, Alfonso De Portago was killed IIRC in the 1950s or 60's in the Mille Migla race, taking his co-driver and 18 spectators (mostly kids, thats the worst part) with him.

It was that incident which ended that famous race

#25 Slyder

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 15:11

and of course, the accident that nearly killed auto racing.

Pierre Levegh in Le MAns 1955, his car crashed into the wall in the main straight, the engine was torn off the car and somersaulted into the grandstand killing 84 spectators.

#26 Barry Boor

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 15:18

Slyder; the Old Hairpin is at the bottom of the Craner Curves and just about as far away from Coppice Corner as it is possible to get.

It isn't really a hairpin at all, of course, just more or less a right angled right-hander. You may be getting mixed up with the Melbourne Hairpin, which is on the 'new' extension, but you couldn't see the straight where the accident occurred from there either.

de Portago's accident was in 1957.

#27 Stefan Ornerdal

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 22:38

The worst tragedies, as far as I know:

1. Le Mans 1955 - 82, 83 or 84 and possibly 16 who died later. ("Pierre Levegh")
2. European GP, Monza 1928 - 22 or 27 (Emilio Materazzi)
3. Mille Miglia 1957 - 10 or 18 (de Portago)
4. Gorkij, Soviet Union 1948 - 14. A record attempt with an Auto Union.
5. Italian GP 1961 - 13 or 14 (von Trips/Clark)
6. Grenzlandring 1952 - 13 (Helmut Niedermayr)
7. Tourist Trophy, Ards 1936 - 8
8. Lourenco Margques, Mozambique 1977 - 7 or 8
9. Shah Alam, Malaysia 1977 - 6 children
10. San Remo GP 1951 - "Several people" (Johnny Claes)

Which year was the accident at Charlotte when 3 spectators died?

I have such a list, currently of line because I feel it has to many errors in it. If somebody is interested to see it, just send me an e-mail.

Stefan

#28 Pedro 917

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 10:51

Here's an odd story :
My first name is Luc and I was born on the 11th of June 1955.............yes, the family was happy but what a sad day for motor racing. When I became a motor racing fan in the late sixties, I found out about the crash and about Pierre Levegh. When it came up, I always joked about me, being the reincarnation of Levegh etc.... Until a couple of years ago when I saw a film of the crash on TV. I'd taped the scene and while I was playing the tape in slow motion, I suddenly saw my first name in the middle of the screen..........I couldn't believe what I saw and when I overcame the first shock, I discovered that it was a publicity sign of LUCAS, partly covered by a firetruck or an ambulance so that the AS didn't show. I no longer joke about it though............

#29 Carlos Guerra

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Posted 23 September 2002 - 20:22

Originally posted by Stefan Ornerdal
The worst tragedies, as far as I know:

8. Lourenco Margques, Mozambique 1977 - 7 or 8

I have such a list, currently of line because I feel it has to many errors in it. If somebody is interested to see it, just send me an e-mail.

Stefan


Hi Stefan,

The exact date of the Lourenço Marques fatality is July 23, 1967.
Lucki Botha's Brabham BT11 locked brakes, left the road and hit several spectators on a prohibited area.

Regards

Carlos Guerra
Cascais
Portugal

#30 Jerry Lee

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 13:41

Originally posted by ehagar
No. There was a second catch fence before the spectators.


I thought that wheel bounced over the fence and hit some steps (an aisle) at a perfect angle and just bounced back out into the space between the two catch fences. I may be wrong but I always seem to remember that being one of the luckiest incidents ever.

#31 Slyder

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 17:16

I remember that in 81 or in 83, in Spa, Manfred Winckelhock lost his right rear wheel enterin Pouhon.

AFAIK, the wheel flew pretty high into a spectator area. Not sure if somebody was hurt.

anyone know?

#32 Bladrian

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 17:37

Originally posted by Carlos Guerra


Hi Stefan,

The exact date of the Lourenço Marques fatality is July 23, 1967.
Lucki Botha's Brabham BT11 locked brakes, left the road and hit several spectators on a prohibited area.

Regards

Carlos Guerra
Cascais
Portugal


Hi Carlos

That would be Luki Botha.

#33 Gary C

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 18:53

Wasn't there at least one marshall killed in Geoff Krosnoff's fatal Indycar crash with Emo at Toronto in about 1995??

#34 MarkWRX

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 19:05

Yes, an SCCA corner worker, who was looking the wrong way, got hit on the back of the head by a wheel from Krosnoff's car. The other workers (the flag and flag backup in corner worker parlance) saw the accident developing and were able to get out of the way.

Mark

#35 Jerry Lee

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 20:36

His name was Gary Avrin. It was in 1996 and happened after Krosnoff's car hit the back of Stefan Johannson's car.

#36 man

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Posted 24 September 2002 - 21:10

Not F1, but in 1986 Joaquin Santos crashed his RS200 in the Portugese Rally killing four spectators.

#37 AlesiUK

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 09:54

im pretty sure there were 8 or nine spectators killed in the mcnish incident at donnington.

#38 ghinzani

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 10:14

No Mcnishs' accident only killed one person.

#39 LittleChris

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 16:31

IIRC it was the engine, which had split away from the rest of the car, that killed the marshal in the McNish crash, whilst the tub with driver securely strapped in ended up in an access tunnel entrance. I believe the incident started when McNish and Naspetti started rubbing wheels on Starkeys Straight.

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#40 Barry Boor

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 17:26

IIRC it was the engine, which had split away from the rest of the car, that killed the marshal in the McNish crash, whilst the tub with driver securely strapped in ended up in an access tunnel entrance. I believe the incident started when McNish and Naspetti started rubbing wheels on Starkeys Straight.



I think that is a very accurate description of the sad event.

#41 Paul Hartshorne

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 20:22

Sorry for the late reply to this thread, I've been away for a couple of weeks.

Barry, we must have been standing within feet of each other that fateful day at Donington. Like you, I was spectating from the banking behind the Old Hairpin and had no idea that there had been a fatally at the meeting until I read it in Motoring News on the following Wednesday.

The man killed was a spectator, not a marshal. His family later wrote to McNish letting him know that they didn't blame him, and that he shouldn't let the accident affect his career.

There were only a little more than 2000 spectators at the meeting, the lowest attendance for a F3000 meeting at Donington. In other words, it could have been much worse...

Cheers, Paul

#42 tifoso

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 13:29

Christoper Hilton wrote about the McNish incident in his book Inside the Mind of a Grand Prix Driver:

At Donington on 22 April 1990, Allan McNish was driving in the opening round of the Formula 3000 International Championship. Aged 20, he was one of the outstanding young drivers of his generation and clearly would be within reach of a Formula 1 drive soon. And it all went wrong...McNish was in [a] collision with Emanuele Naspetti [on the fourth lap of the race]. McNish's car was pitched into a series of rolls and -- torn to pieces -- went into a public area by an underpass. A spectator died and two marshals were hurt.

You have said that the going wrong was a convergence of factors. Was Donington one?
"Obviously...because I think, whether anybody likes to admit it or not, that you can get over these things physically quicker than you can get over them mentally. Physically I was fine. Mentally I think it took me quite a specific period..."

Does anybody know what actually happened?
"I can remember everything up to it but I can't remember after that because I was unconscious. I remember a couple of little snippets but nothing at all really, which I think is your brain putting itself on Pause because it doesn't want to remember. When you go racing you know it is dangerous. That's the reason you have insurance. You do know and you do understand, even if you don't like to think about it. You accept that things can happen every time you get in the car. What is not necessarily acceptable from the driver's point of view is that somebody outside of the car can be injured.

There is a thread about the crash that includes a link to video footage of the accident in Readers' Comments.

My father, brother, sister-in-law, husband and I were at the IRL race in Charlotte when three, IIRC, spectators were killed. I saved several articles about the incident from the Charlotte Observer. I'll dig them up and post the names of the spectators and more details about the incident.

#43 LittleChris

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 14:29

A bit too close for comfort for Allen McNish again today !!

#44 tifoso

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 16:08

The spectators killed at the 1999 IRL VisionAire 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (renamed Lowes Motor Speedway within days of the IRL event) were:

Dexter Barry Mobley (41) of Statesville, North Carolina
Jeff Patton (32) of Hickory, North Carolina
Randy Dale Pyatte (21) of Connelly Springs, North Carolina

In addition 8 other spectators were injured. 7 were treated and released almost immediately, but 9-year-old Haley McGee of Conover, North Carolina, suffered head and lung injuries. Her condition was upgraded to Good on May 18, and she was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital. The Charlotte Observer wrote a follow-up article about her health status on November 11, 2001. She suffers hand tremors and frequent headaches and where she once earned As and Bs in school, she struggles after the brain injury to keep up with her classmates. The doctors warned her parents against another brain injury so many popular games for children her age are not possible.

On Lap 61 of the 208-lap race, Stan Wattles' car experienced a mechanical problem and hit the Turn 4 wall hard, triggering a three-car wreck that left a trail of debris along the frontstretch of the speedway. John Paul Jr.'s car hit a wheel-tire combination from Wattle's car that was rolling along the track. It bounced over the fencing and into the stands. John Paul Jr. had this to say:

"I saw the tire. There wasn't time to swerve or turn. You're hoping it's going to roll out of the way, but it didn't. It was just there."

Upon learning later that night spectators were killed and injured, he continued:

It was devastating. We are thinking about the families every day. Physically, I'm all right. Psychologically, it's been tough for me. And from a series standpoint, everyone is just on a real downer from what happened at Charlotte.

Paul's comments seem to mirror those of McNish. The death of spectators is more difficult for drivers to handle than that of their fellow competitors.

The preliminary results of the accident investigation can be found here.

Sources: Charlotte Observer and Indy Racing League new archives.

#45 bill moffat

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 13:47

bit of a morbid subject but I thought I'd add my bit. Surely biggest F1 spectator-related accident was von Trips at Monza in 1961. The collision between his Ferrari and Jimmy Clark's Lotus resulted in von Trips' Ferrari vaulting over a chain link fence , killing both the German aristocrat and 14 spectators.

Going back to Dan Gurney's accident I believe it prompted a memorable quote from him ie "this is a cruel, cruel sport". It was used to preface an American motor sport book in the 60's ( name and author long-forgotten).

On a lighter note I feel we all owe Jackie Stewart a massive debt of gratitude for his pioneering work on motor sport safety. His work was much maligned in the early days..but scores of drivers must surely owe their lives to his crusade. Another wee Scotsman would probably share my views this weekend !!

#46 Laurie

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 01:29

While lists devoted to racing drivers who gave their life doing what they love are fairly common, I started wondering about the poor fans that have lost their lives while watching motorsport.

Has anyone ever compiled a list of such losses?

Driver fatalities are an understandable part of a sport that is all about racing on the ragged edge, but I think it's especially sad when an innocent spectator loses their life. :cry:




My dad was a spectator - he lost his life. When I saw this post....... It was comforting to know that people do think about those that are so quickly forgotten. When you google Nascar tragedy- all that comes up are the names and events of drivers that have los their lives. As tragic as that is, it is so much more tragic that a fan that went to enjoy a night at the races, never came home. As a spectator you don't sign a waiver that says "you're putting your life at risk to watch this event". But as a driver you know and assume the risk. Thank you for your post.

#47 Rob G

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:10

My dad was a spectator - he lost his life. When I saw this post....... It was comforting to know that people do think about those that are so quickly forgotten. When you google Nascar tragedy- all that comes up are the names and events of drivers that have los their lives. As tragic as that is, it is so much more tragic that a fan that went to enjoy a night at the races, never came home. As a spectator you don't sign a waiver that says "you're putting your life at risk to watch this event". But as a driver you know and assume the risk. Thank you for your post.

About a year after this thread appeared and then faded from view, a website called Motorsport Memorial was created to remember the people who lost their lives to motor racing. They have included not only the names of drivers and others who died on the job, but also the tragic losses of spectators. It's a very long, very sad list, but rest assured that these people are not forgotten.

#48 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:26

Is it my (troubled) imagination or wasn't there a spectator fatality at Castle Combe in the '80s or '90s caused by a flying wheel, during a club meeting???? I also seem to recall a saloon car roll-over during a relatively early (Wheatcroft period) Donington meeting in which three or four spectators were injured - though thankfully not killed - at Red Gate Corner? The Karlskoga saloon car crash which did claim spectators has been extensively discussed in this place but does not yet appear to have been considered in this thread?

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 07 June 2010 - 08:31.


#49 Vitesse2

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:37

The spectator fatality at Castle Combe was on August 31st 1998 - a chap called Lee Noble. Recorded on Motorsport Memorial.

#50 Geoff E

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 13:06

The spectator fatality at Castle Combe was on August 31st 1998 ...


It happened at Camp Corner during morning qualifying for the TVR Tuscan race.