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5th July 2000

'The show will go on'

by Jonathon Mudd

Organisers of the Goodwood Festival of Speed have confirmed that the event will go ahead as planned next year despite the accident in which a competitor and a marshal were killed at the Sussex venue two weeks ago.
The police and Motor Sports Association are currently investigating what caused the Lotus 63 of John Dawson Damer to go out of control at the finishing line. Marshal Andrew Carpenter also died in the accident, while another marshal, Steve Tarrant, suffered serious injuries. Organisers are determined the show will go on in 2001 even though a full inquest into the deaths has not been heard. "The festival will definitely go ahead next year," said Goodwood spokesman Rob Widdows. "It is far too early to talk about any changes that may be made following John Dawson Damer's accident but we will co-operate closely with both the MSA and the BARC to ensure that everything is done to protect the competitors, spectators and marshals. "We constantly strive to improve the Festival of Speed, but it is important not to react too quickly in this kind of situation."

The wreckage of Dawson Damer's Lotus has been inspected by the MSA scruitineer and police, but it is expected the findings will not be revealed until the inquest is completed in several months' time. At this stage, the investigating team is looking at a number of possibilities. Amongst the theories which could explain the accident are that the Lotus had a mechanical failure, that the driver (who had experienced heart problems in the past) suffered a heart attack or that it was down to driver error. Steve Tarrant, the injured marshal, is still in hospital. He is expected to be moved to Charing Cross Hospital in London to undergo plastic surgery on his right leg.

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