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Chris Threlfall at Aix-les-Bains


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 09 November 2004 - 22:59

Glancing (for the first time) at the Motorsport Memorial site, I came upon the entry for Chris Threlfall who was killed in a Formula Junior race at Aix-les-Bains in 1960.

The description of this accident reads that Threlfall crashed into a wooden bridge, which then collapsed. I always believed that the bridge collapsed first, then the unfortunate driver ran into the wreckage which obviously had blocked the road.

Which of these 2 versions is correct?

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#2 KJJ

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Posted 10 November 2004 - 09:01

The July 1960 edition of Motor Sport reported that "a footbridge over the circuit collapsed and Chris Threlfall was killed as his Elva-DKW ran into the wreckage." Any other contemporary reports contradict this?

#3 GIGLEUX

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Posted 10 November 2004 - 22:11

From local newspaper Le Dauphinée Libéré the bridge collapsed and poor Threlfall found the wreckage on his way.

#4 Muzza

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Posted 10 November 2004 - 22:41

Thanks, Barry,


For visiting Motorsport Memorial and raising this question. Your most candid comments on our project are very welcome.

Thanks also to KJJ and Jean-Maurice for their replies; we will correct the record on Threlfall immediately, and it will be posted at 23h00 PST (-8h00 GMT) tonight.

We tracked the source of this error and it came from a misunderstanding between two friends about the French prepositions avant (which, instead of "before", one person understood as "in front of" - but that should be devant) and après ("after", which a second person then incorrectly translated as "before").

Our apologies for the error, and thanks once again for the correction.


Regards,


Muzza
On behalf of The Motorsport Memorial Team

P.S.: We are still looking for:
- Threlfall's date and place of birth;

- a confirmation of the engine of his Elva - was it a BMC or a DKW tuned by Mitter?

- any information that allow us to prepare biographic notes on Threlfall would be warmly received. We want to remember those we miss for their life and career, and not only by their accidents. Sadly Threlfall is yet another racer that lost his life practicing the sport we love and which had been all but forgotten by the passing of time. Our record about Threlfall, as currently displayed, is merely the first step on remembering him properly. Should you have any information on this driver please collaborate with our project - all contributions will be credited and you (or the original copyright holder) will retain full copyrights on any piece/picture submitted.

Motorsport Memorial is a non-profit, non-commercial project of truly collective nature, and we have no interest whatsoever on commercially exploiting its contents or developments. It is only for those we miss.


#5 Jimmy Piget

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 05:25

– Christopher Hugh THRELFALL
– born : Kinver (Staffordshire, GB) 24 May 1930
– garagist
– died : Aix-les-Bains (Savoie, F) 22 May 1960 (race accident ; Elva Ford F J)

source : his death act

#6 Hugo Boecker

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 14:56

Wasn't he involved in a crash at Chimay 1956 which cost the lives of 5 or 6 people?

#7 Muzza

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 15:03

Thanks, Jimmy.

(oops, now we have a third candidate for the engine... BMC? DKW? Ford?)

#8 KJJ

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Posted 23 February 2005 - 17:42

Originally posted by Hugo Boecker
Wasn't he involved in a crash at Chimay 1956 which cost the lives of 5 or 6 people?


I'm browsing through old copies of the Times at the moment and Threlfall's Aix-les-Bains crash was covered in some depth. The article mentions the Chimay crash on May 20th 1956 in which a woman, her two children and a young man were killed after a collision between Threlfall's Tojeiro-Jaguar and Maurice Caillet's Maserati. It also mentions that around 50 people were standing on the bridge at Aix-les-Bains when it collapsed onto the track, six were killed.

The Times version of the Aix-les-Bains crash has Threlfall as a member of "a BMC-Elva works team which came to France for the Aix-les-Bains race and for the Monaco Grand Prix meeting." Any chance of the "cult of factual correctness" sorting this out?

By the way the article states that Threlfall was a BOAC pilot before his involvement with the Woking Garage.

#9 llmaurice

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Posted 23 February 2005 - 18:06

I remember hearing at the time that the bridge was crowded with spectators too .

#10 David Birchall

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 02:06

According to Blunsden's book on Formula Junior Threlfall was driving an Elva/DKW....
He very nearly won the first FJ race in England-possibly in the same car and had just quit his job as an airline pilot to become a professional racing driver.

#11 Gerard Gamand

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 13:04

Three years after the start of this thread, I've just find this very rare document of the Chris Threlfall wrecked Elva DKW, take soon after the tragedy, who costed life for six spectators and the poor Chris. It was on Aix les Bains track, 1960 may 22th.


Copyright Gérard Gamand


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#12 Barry Boor

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 14:53

Not a pleasant image but thank you, Gerard, for posting it for us.

#13 Ted Walker

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 05:14

From the photo and the SU Carb Its a BMC engine.

#14 hughthrelfall

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 17:54

I am doing a little research into relatives. I was partly named after Christopher Hugh Threlfall who died a year before I was born.

My father (his first cousin) always told me that the bridge, over the track in France, collapsed under the weight of too many spectators.

He then crashed into the collapsed wreckage. 

 

Thank you Gerard for posting the image. What a truly wrecked car.


Edited by hughthrelfall, 11 June 2019 - 17:56.


#15 RobMk2a

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 17:58

I am doing a little research into relatives. I was partly named after Christopher Hugh Threlfall who died a year before I was born.

My father (his first cousin) always told me that the bridge, over the track in France, collapsed under the weight of too many spectators.

He then crashed into the collapsed wreckage. 

 

Thank you Gerard for posting the image. What a truly wrecked car.

If you start researching Tom you will come across a large number of events including the TT in his Elite. There are photos of both Chris and Tom on the REVs Library website. 

 

 

Rob 



#16 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 18:09

I am doing a little research into relatives. I was partly named after Christopher Hugh Threlfall who died a year before I was born.

My father (his first cousin) always told me that the bridge, over the track in France, collapsed under the weight of too many spectators.

He then crashed into the collapsed wreckage. 

 

Thank you Gerard for posting the image. What a truly wrecked car.

Gérard now runs the French Autodiva forum: http://www.autodiva....ewforum.php?f=2 There are a few mentions of Chris Threlfall there too - although to view them you will have to register.



#17 hughthrelfall

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 18:21

Many many thanks RobMk2a, I did not know about Revs library. I know Tom's widow, so will talk to her.

 

Thank you also to Vitesse2 for the link. Really helpful, much appreciated.



#18 David Birchall

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 19:21

I used to own an Elva BMC Junior and that certainly looks like one of the SUs fitted to the BMC engine.



#19 Tim Murray

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 19:38

Welcome Hugh. You’ve probably found it already, but there’s another thread on the racing Threlfalls:

Threlfall brothers?

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#20 RobMk2a

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Posted 11 June 2019 - 22:15

Many many thanks RobMk2a, I did not know about Revs library. I know Tom's widow, so will talk to her.

 

Thank you also to Vitesse2 for the link. Really helpful, much appreciated.

Hugh, 

 

There is probably enough material for a good book. The VSCC Library will also be able to help.

 

Rob  



#21 bradbury west

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:33

Please see the other current Threlfall thread, posted reply in wrong one.
Roger Lund.

#22 Gary C

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 14:59

Here's a little story for you. In the middle of last year I bought a copy of Graham Hill's autobiography in a local charity shop. I handed the book over to the lady volunteer on the till. She looked at the picture on the front cover and sighed 'Oh, Graham Hill.' I asked if she remembered him. 'Oh yes, I was in the Doghouse Club and used to be a fiance to a racing driver.' I asked who. She said he was killed a long time ago, she was there. I asked his name. 'Chris Threlfall' .......

#23 hughthrelfall

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 15:19

How wonderful this forum is to find all this info.
Thanks Gary for sharing that nice and rather sad tale. It was a long time ago but clearly still firmly in her mind.

#24 Gary C

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 15:57

I didn't get the ladies' name and I haven't seen her since. She was obviously put there on that day to tell me the story....

#25 Paul Taylor

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 11:38

I have an approx. 2 minute long video of footage from this tragic race, mostly consisting of aftermath from the accident. If you want to see it, please PM me.


Edited by Paul Taylor, 13 June 2019 - 11:39.