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BTCC Thruxton: Thruxton boss defends circuit safety

Thruxton Director Bill Coombs says he will look into improvements at the circuit after several crashes during the BTCC race day at Church corner.
Thruxton Group Managing Director Bill Coombs says he will liaise with the MSA and FIA to improve standards at the circuit following a Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship round beset by high-speed crashes, most notably at the notorious Church bend.

eBay Motors BMW's Nick Foster and Handy Motorsport's Simon Belcher suffered big offs at the fast right-hander during race day, the former tipped into a spin by Rob Austin and collecting the outside barrier hard, while the latter slid off by himself and proceeded to vault the tyres into the bushes behind. Ollie Jackson was also left with a heavily damaged Welch Proton after striking the barrier in his off.

Raising concerns about safety around the fastest circuit in the United Kingdom, Thruxton has since issued a statement declaring that the venue is 'challenging' but safe, though it will work with the MSA and FIA to determine where improvements can be made.

"Any accidents at a motor racing meeting are regrettable, but as a racer myself, I fully understand that it is not desirable to have cars ending up amongst the bushes. That is something we will be addressing, but by the same token, we need to be careful in this kind of situation not to jump to any kneejerk reactions or conclusions.

"Church is a high-speed, challenging corner, and like all the classic corners, it is just this that makes it so exciting and rewarding to get right. There is a significant amount of run-off area - more than at many other circuits - and the result is that when accidents do occur, drivers are thankfully able to climb out of the car and walk away, as was the case last weekend.

"The last thing we want to do is remove the character of Thruxton, but safety is of course of paramount importance and we will be working closely in conjunction with the MSA and FIA, who are the acknowledged experts in this area in our sport, to see if we can make further improvements."


Tagged as: Thruxton

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ZEDX

May 07, 2014 3:49 PM

I attended Thruxton in the 90's and was present at a BTCC event where during a support F3 race, young M. Albers was killed in front of my son who was hit by the flying debris .. I had just left our space to get a coffee... The problem then was open-wheel racing cars (ie his car's front wheel ran up onto the rear wheels of a car in front causing it to become airborne .. very similar to Mark Webber's F1 crash a couple of years ago). Alber's car slammed into the catch netting sideways-on and his head impacted a metal post. This was by the only real "obstacle" on the circuit.. a chicane near the start/finish line... the rest of the cricuit has very little else to offer as a test except for some fast corners. but..take them away & you're taking the whole essence of Thruxton (ie old airfield-based circuit) away. I'd look at barrier/crowd safety tweeks preferably.



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