Friday, 21 October 2011

The tragedy of motorsport

"Racing is in my blood.  It's part of me, it's part of my life".  So said the late, great, Ayrton Senna.  It is a statement that I completely agree with, as I feel the same.  It also is a statement that reminds me of the amazing loss I felt when we lost Senna at Imola in 1994.  Despite being only 10, I still remember that day like it was yesterday.  That weekend, when we also lost Roland Ratzenberger, was utterly unbelievable for the motorsport world.  To have that much sorrow over a weekend was horrific. 

Last weekend in Las Vegas British motorsport lost a huge personality, although those not familar with the sport probably wouldn't have heard much of Dan Wheldon.  At this point it is only fair that I say that although I followed him, I didn't know him personally.  I do know people who did however.  It was Monday morning UK time as I was preparing for work when I saw the accident on BBC Breakfast News. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I had to stop everything and just sit for a while.  I still can't believe it now.  Champ Car and Indycar - both together and when they were seperate - has experienced alot of awful weekends (Paul Dana, Alex Zinardi, Greg Moore to name a few) but this latest event seems to have sent real shock waves internationally.

Despite the obvious journalistic comments about safety issues, I am amazed that more people got away with it.  It was such an intense, violent, wide-spread accident that even the safest car on the planet wouldn't have assured protection. 

I'm not in a position to make comments about safety in Indycar.  I simply have no right to.  But my closing statement would purely be that the tragedy that can occur in motorsport affects every stakeholder in the industry - from drivers to fans.  Everyone knows the risks associated with such a high speed, cutting edge sport - even spectators are reminded on all their tickets over here in the UK.  But it's a sport with a passion and adrenaline rush that I can't define.  It's the families who suffer the most as it's always so sudden.  My thoughts are with Dan's family, friends and all the many people who worked along side him over the years.

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