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Old 19 Sep 2000, 13:09 (Ref:37980)   #1
Dan Friel
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Dan Friel should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
After Nigel Corner's scary accident at Goodwood on Sunday, is there anything that the MSA should be doing to make historic racing safer???

I'm of the view that racers should be allowed to race with whatever protection they feel necessary, there's always big grids.. And this on this occasion, Mr Corner was best off getting thrown clear of his rolling Ferrari - it was just lucky that he didn't end up in the middle of the track..

I learnt a big lesson also... never push on rear wheels of cars stuck in gravel traps, I now have a rather big/long tyre make down one side of me where Rob Jolley's Cooper threw me over his rear wheel and into the gravel. I'm a prat.
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Old 19 Sep 2000, 15:16 (Ref:38000)   #2
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Oops, bad luck with the Cooper, Dan!

I think the important thing to remember about Historics, certainly in the upper echelons of the sport, where ex-Formula 1 cars are being driven, is that no one is forcing the drivers to get into the cars.

I don't yet know the circumstances of the Corner accident, indeed didn't hear about it until after the last race. But I did see Burkhard von Schenk's Maserati under a tarpaulin with a badly stuffed tail, and a Cooper T53 with a perfectly Maserati shaped dent in the nose. Were all of these part of the incident?

Despite some fierce competition, it is generally accepted that when you are driving a Historic, you are driving at 9.5 tenths, in an effort not to spoil the machine. Unless your name is Frank Sytner or John Harper, your car is likely to go for race after race without requiring panelwork.

Another thing to remember is that it is a risky business applying new technologies to old motors. When Roger Joice was killed in a Frazer Nash Le Mans at the JDC meeting in 1983, there was a very serious call for mandatory rollcages to be fitted to open Historic racers. It took a lot of study to realise that quite apart from being unsightly, a roll cage can have some odd effects on cars not designed to take them. The Maserati 250F drivers were able to demonstrate that the handling of their machines relied on the inherent flexibility of their chassis, and that this was inevitably compromised by the stiffness of the cage.

Indeed, of the class of car in which Nigel Corner has been racing his Ferrari Dino 246, only a single American-owned Connaught B has been seen out with a contemporary rollhoop, and even that has been retired of late.

The FIA-friendly Silverstone track, with all the wiggles, doublebacks and snaky bits that modern F1 safety allegedly requires, is not designed with Historic cars in mind. The one year that the Coys festival was held on the FIA track, there were so many complaints that the cars were frying brakes and mashing gearboxes that the decision was taken to go to an interim "Historic" Silverstone course, even at the expense of losing the British round of the FIA classic saloons.

With but one chicane, and everything else a medium or bloody quick corner, Goodwood is in fact highly conducive to preservation of a piece of machinery.

Gravel traps don't really help, either. The new trap at Paddock Hill Bend at Brands Hatch last year turned a harmless spin into a car-wrecking multiple barrel roll for an unfortunate Aston Martin DB4 owner. Colin Cowderay could have saved his Cooper Bristol when it lost a wheel at Coys this year, if it hadn't been for the Copse gravel trap, and Doug Rhodes fell foul of the same gravel trap while testing his Ford Anglia last year. Again, a harmless spin was pitched into a roll on contact with the gravel.

Nigel Corner knows the risks of racing. As do all of his competitors. He saw his father Neil have an almighty accident at the wheel of a pre-war Mercedes a couple of years back, which involved Mark Gillies being flung out of a somersaulting Riley. That both Neil and Mark went straight back to the circuits as soon as they could says something about their love of the sport, and their acceptance of the danger. It also is perhaps telling that Neil Corner took the decision then to retire the Mercedes from active competition, believing that the car had nothing more to prove on the track, and everything to lose if it got damaged again.

The Goodwood website is reporting Nigel Corner sitting up in his hospital bed with a cracked collar bone and ribs, and a punctured lung, anxious not for himself, but for the progress on restoring his Ferrari, and complaining about how much it will cost.

No one is holding him to a contract. No one is insisting that he gets behind the wheel. This is his fanaticism talking, and it is his decision all the way.

I don't like seeing a historic car get bashed, and I certainly don't like seeing a driver get hurt. But if the drivers are prepared to take their cars out on the circuits we have (including Goodwood) and if they feel that the risk to themselves and their precious cars is at an acceptable level, then in this case, I really feel that it is a case of "as you were". If we were to change a thing, there is no guarantee that the safety aspect would be improved one jot.
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Old 19 Sep 2000, 16:24 (Ref:38009)   #3
Dan Friel
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Dan Friel should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Totally agree with what you say.. Historic cars shouldn't have roll cages if the drivers don't want them, and if they're happy going out racing - well its up to them. I have no problem turning up and marshalling with them screaming round 'open top' because I know the majority are excellent racers, and the others usually know their limits withe those expensive cars.

Corner's accident was very strange... got squeezed at the start and got flippd up between the wheels of other cars, the car was mashed - so lucky he got out in one piece... Never seen an old historic car get so airborne.

Mr Corner will have a busy winter..
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Old 19 Sep 2000, 16:46 (Ref:38010)   #4
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I am interested in the subject of gravel traps and the configuration of modern circuits. From my perspective gravel traps work a darn sight better than grass. Also if we go to tarmac run offs we (the spectator) will be even further from the action than we are now. Get onto a wet tarmac run off and you can kiss goodbye to any stopping ability.

As Tim says, these guys race for the sheer thrill of it although I don't think you'd get me into a 250F or a Dino 246. iI always enjoy watching others throw them around.

BTW Tim. If you told Corner, Bell, Green or any of the other single seater drivers that you thought they were only going at 9/10ths you could expect a fat lip!!!

I sympathise with your thoughts of driver safety however, I think the trouble lies with us and our ever more safe and steralised world rather than the intrinsic safety of the cars themselves. We tend to look for excuses when something bad happens and then when we find a culprit we try to legislate against it. Why should anybody question the safety aspects of the cars at all? They run as they always have and that's why the public enjoy them so much.

Dan,

I remember talking to Rod Jolley at Coys in 1996, the weekend he first drove that Cooper. He had recently taken delivery of it after a trip from Australia. Its an ex-Brabham car. (Unless its another one in which case I will stand corrected).
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Old 19 Sep 2000, 17:09 (Ref:38013)   #5
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"racers should be allowed to race with whatever protection they feel necessary"
I personally race with cage, bulkheads, fireproof underwear, suit, gloves, socks, balaclava, helmet, fire extinguisher & cut-off. Even if these aren't mandatory, I'd still use them. I believe that some Jags can't run with full cages in case they roll, cos the chassis would fall thru the car.
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Old 19 Sep 2000, 17:14 (Ref:38014)   #6
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Originally posted by SNH
I believe that some Jags can't run with full cages in case they roll, cos the chassis would fall thru the car.
I know a few Touring Cars which fall into that category.
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Old 19 Sep 2000, 18:55 (Ref:38033)   #7
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Like Steve (SNH)
I run my car with a serious multipoint cage and all the safety racewear paraphrenailia (!?) 'cos I think its sensible.

However if someone gave me the chance to drive a Bentley Blower, 30s Aston Lagonda, Jag C-type or Lotus 42, naked around Goodwood, (not pretty I know!) I would naturally turn the opportunity down on safety grounds!

(I was of course thinking of all those women throwing themselves at my flesh!)

:-)
IanC

I trust that Mr Corner recovers speedily and all the cars are repaired.
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Old 19 Sep 2000, 19:10 (Ref:38036)   #8
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The accident happened almost in front of us, although we could not see the initial collision we clearly saw the car flip up in the air, Nigel being thrown in a sumersault before landing on the grass. The first people at the crash were Robin Lodge who stopped just behind the car in his Ferrari, followed closely by Stirling and Alain DeCadenet both in now badly dented Coopers, The marshalls were there very soon after, hampered slightly as most were posted on the other side of the track (we are talking only seconds longer). It was a relief to hear of only slight injuries as the medics were on the scene for a long time and many around us were fearing the worst.
Looking at the wrecked car it was lucky that the driver was thrown clear as what seemed to be a roll hoop stuck into the mud.

I agree with the general view here, racing should be allowed with cars as they were. If the drivers are happy to race then please let them. They surely must race for their enjoyment. I go to see real cars, real drivers driven as they should be, at 9/10's or even 5/10's the sight and sound is enough. Far better than a brief glimpse of a helmet at vast speed though catch fencing before pitting and going for good into a motor home bigger than my house.

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Old 20 Sep 2000, 12:18 (Ref:38139)   #9
Dan Friel
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Dan Friel should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Check out the picture is today's Daily Mail (p27), it really shows how lucky he was!!!
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Old 20 Sep 2000, 18:09 (Ref:38219)   #10
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TimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
It's not often I buy the Daily Mail - but I did today on Dan's advice.

Bloomin 'eck!

That is one hell of a picture.
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Old 21 Sep 2000, 07:20 (Ref:38336)   #11
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Save it for me please.
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Old 21 Sep 2000, 08:22 (Ref:38342)   #12
Dan Friel
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Dan Friel should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Same pictures were in yesterday's Motoring News.. and also a fabulous picture of Grant Williams power sliding his Mk 2 Jag out of the chicane... He really is worth the entry fee alone (I can say that 'cause i get in free!!!).
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Old 21 Sep 2000, 08:50 (Ref:38345)   #13
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Pictures also in today's Autosport. What a luckly fella he is.

Also, what does Grant Williams do for the rest of the year, does he race with the classic saloon guys. Surely you can't get into a car once e year and make it go that sideways!
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Old 1 Oct 2000, 00:52 (Ref:40252)   #14
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TimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Mallett
Save it for me please.

Now, normally I wouldn't post a picture like this - there are some things which might better have a veil drawn over them.

But, as Nigel Corner is on the way to a full recovery, and is already muttering about the bill for Ferrari repairs, and as Peter, you did ask...

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Old 1 Oct 2000, 00:59 (Ref:40254)   #15
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G O O D G R I E F !


I'm sooooo glad Mr Corner's on the mend...
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