Originally posted by Doug Nye
Michael - with respect I believe you have misread these fascinating and revealing photographs of Innes' Kent wreckage.
The perforated stress hoop which supported both the dash panel and the steering column in the 19 HAD been cut away.
In photo 3 it appears to be the seat back which is visible through the area where the hoop has been cut away. It had been removed, presumably, to enable the steering column to be cranked up into the air so that rescuers could lift Innes clear.
It is abundantly obvious that his injuries were such than he was utterly incapable of getting himself out of the wreckage unaided, and certainly of having then "sprinted across the track". He certainly recalled the incident as having been pretty traumatic, and he was certainly in tremendous pain.
From the photographs it seems apparent that the rear half of the car survived in relatively good shape - eminently salvageable in fact. What I do find susprising is the apparently good condition of the nose panel lying in the foreground in picture 3! How on earth it hadn't been reduced to mere confetti I find quite interesting. From the dash panel arch it certainly appears to have been a GRP moulding.
From bitter experience, I have learnt to add the immortal words 'I could be mistaken' when I open my mouth or write things these days, as it has been known to be the case
Looking at it again I can see now that the perforated stress hoop does indeed appear to have been cut through...
However, I make no apologies for posting an alternative recollection of events from an eye-witness to the accident. As I am sure you have as well, I have found that very often, people tend to over-exaggerate, embellish, or just get plain wrong events that happened many years ago. There have been many occasions when I have sat before someone who will swear on their mother's life that such and such happened, yet I have photographic or documentary proof that contradicts that version of events.
For this reason, I am wary of taking information that has been related to me second- or third-hand as fact. Before David's post this morning, I had heard many and various stories about the accident (all from people who were not there, incidentally) but I had not come across anyone else who claimed to have witnessed the accident in person, therefore the account I had received seemed to me to be at least worthy of some attention and interrogation.
Now there is an alternative eye-witness account (albeit from someone who did not witness the accident but arrived shortly afterwards) which states that Innes was trapped in the car (and the photos posted would indeed seem to support this version of events) I suppose the obvious conclusion is that my eye-witness's account is erroneous...but why I don't know
I guess this is another example of not taking what people tell you as fact!
Re the car, I agree the rear looks relatively undamaged - do you think they would have grafted on a new front section, rather than bought a completely new chassis? It would be good to talk to Jock Ross (if he is still with us?) to find out more about the work involved.
Re the front body section, it does seem to be damaged on the right side but has survived remarkably intact. It would definitely have been GRP, as I have been told by Tony Robinson that all three cars raced by UDT/BRP in 1961 had glassfibre bodies (although of course, he could be mistaken...). So far as I have been able to ascertain (caveat: but I could be mistaken!) the only appearance of the car with an aluminium body was at Karlskoga in August 1960. There is also a reference in Pete Biro's photo-story in Competition Press 26/11/1960 p3 which says 'The fiberglass body has inner panels of aluminium sheeting'. The reference to 'inner panels of aluminium' I have been told, again by Tony, would have been vertical panels to prevent the ingest of water in wet conditions.