'Goodwood to go on despite tragedy'
by Andrew Golby
Goodwood has pledged to carry on its Festival of Speed, ending fears
that Saturday's tragic accident could spell the end of the popular event.
The deaths of classic Lotus enthusiast, John Dawson-Damer, and trackside
marshal Andy Carpenter, along with serious injuries to fellow marshall
Steve Tarrant, called into question the future of the hillclimb. But
an event spokesman said: "We are not considering closing the event.
The next step is to see if anything more can be done to improve safety."
The accident's cause is the subject of a jointinvestigation between
Sussex police and British motorsport's governing body, the MSA.
The inquest's findings will not be made public for several weeks. Its
conclusions could be the catalyst for widespread safety reviews in hillclimbing
across the country.
An MSA spokesman admitted it is "always possible" that changes
may be demanded at all events. It has already begun to review the stationing
of officials at Goodwood. "Clearly it is not acceptable that a
marshal was killed, with the benefit of hindsight we obviously got it
wrong. That was not, in our experience, a foreseeable accident. We've
learnt the lesson, but it's a shame we had to do so in such tragic circumstances.
We send our condolences to the bereaved, and wish Steve Tarrant a speedy
Neither Goodwood nor the MSA would comment on other future changes to
the event, but it is possible that timed runs will be abolished next
year. By limiting the historic festival to display runs, drivers may
feel less tempted to take risks on the hill.
The MSA is happy for the event to choose its own destiny. "If they
want to downgrade, that is their priviledge. We have no preference."
Goodwood may also be forced to install barriers along the course. It
currently uses tightly packed straw bales to stop cars leaving the track.
Dawson-Damer lost control of his rare four-wheel-drive 1969 Lotus 63,
at the hillclimb's final corner. His car struck the finish-line gantry,
killing him, and Andy Carpenter. The impact with the stressed steel
structure was estimated at around 100mph. The Lotus did not appear to
slow before the collision. Mounting speculation has suggested Dawson-Damer
suffered a heart attack.
Steve Tarrant was also badly injured, and lost the lower part of his
right leg. He was still in intensive care, but improving, when AUTOSPORT
went to press on Tuesday.
Historic racer Geoff Farmer was the last driver before Dawson-Damer
to run the course. He described it as "changeable". after
rain showers left the track damp in places.
The event was curtailed on Saturday, but resumed on sunday, with the
blessing of Dawson-Damer's family. None of the 45,000 spectators were
permitted to watch at the point where the accident occurred.
Safety levels have increased year-on-year at the event. When it began
in 1993, crowds were separated from the cars by a single piece of rope.
The first event was marred by the death of mororcycle rider Chas Guy.
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