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28th June 2000

Incidents Mar Goodwood Festival of Speed

Incidents marred the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed, held last weekend in Britain, including the deaths of a driver and a marshal.

The traditional event involves drivers negotiating the narrow 1.2 mile tree-lined driveway from the main road to Goodwood House as a timed hill climb, in a variety of racing machinery ranging from pre-war classics to contemporary Formula One cars.

The first incident involved a crash near the finish line of the hill climb. John Dawson-Damer, Australia's representative to the FIA and deeply involved in historic racing, was driving a 4 wheel drive Lotus 63 approaching the finish line, when he appeared to put a wheel on the grass exiting the fast final left hander. Dawson-Damer lost control of the car, colliding with the finish gantry and hitting two marshals who were standing ready to wave the chequered flag to competitors as they passed by. Dawson-Damer died at the scene, one of the marshals died later the same day, while the other marshal lost a leg.

The second major incident involved Jordan's Technical Director, Mike Gascoyne, who was driving last year's Jordan Mugen-Honda 199. Soon after the start line, Gascoyne applied too much power, losing control of the car and crashing into a tree alongside the driveway. Although Gascoyne was uninjured, the car was badly damaged. This incident occurred despite Gascoyne having driven a Formula One car a few years ago in the British BOSS series for ex-Formula One cars. Only a few days before his crash, Gascoyne said the following: "I have never been to Goodwood before but I hear there isn't much room for error - so I'll try not to get too carried away."

Current Formula One drivers Jenson Button and Johnny Herbert also participated in the event, demonstrating this year's Williams and Jaguar cars respectively, entertaining the crowd with burnouts, locked brakes and 'donuts'

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