F1 » 22 October 2013
Indian Grand Prix: Six of the Best - Racetrack intrusions
However, on lap 11, the television cameras picked up an incredible sight; a man running down the Hangar Straight into the path of oncoming cars. Dressed in a green shirt, a kilt and trailing banners and flags, this interloper presented not the passive worry of potential seen in Hockenheim, but a clear and present danger bordering on the suicidal.
Finally wrestled to the ground off the track by race marshal Stephen Green, the intruder was later revealed to be Roman Catholic priest Neil Horan, whose on-track 'protest' was marked by a placard stating, “Read the Bible. The Bible is always right”. Horan served two months in prison for aggravated trespass, but the consequences for Silverstone were nearly even more severe - with the circuit's security coming in for heavy criticism from leading F1 figures including Bernie Ecclestone at a time when Silverstone's position on the calendar was highly precarious.
Horan's taste for intrusion also saw him detained while attempting to charge the course at the 2004 Epsom Derby, before notoriously intervening with the men's marathon at the 2004 Athens Olympics. A serial fruitcake, Horan was also arrested at the 2006 World Cup ahead of a planned protest, appeared on Britain's Got Talent in 2009 and was last seen prophesising the fall of the British monarchy at of the birth of Prince George of Cambridge.
Back at Silverstone, Barrichello, unlike at Hockenheim, was a victim of the Safety Car, which dropped him back to eighth. This was a surmountable problem for the Brazilian though, storming through the pack and memorably passing Räikkönen for the lead through Bridge 12 laps from home for another classic victory blemished by an infamous on-track transgression.
2003 wasn't the first time that Silverstone had come under critical scrutiny for its security arrangements though, and the height of Mansell mania in 1992 saw an emotionally charged and highly dangerous mass track invasion after 'Nige' won the 1992 British GP.
Mansell had famously won at Silverstone in 1987 and 1991, but the 1992 race took place in a frenzied environment, with Mansell's utter dominance allied to a huge championship advantage to create a carnival atmosphere around the home hero's charge to coronation.
Unlike Monza's endorsed mass-gatherings under the podium, the spectators at Silverstone broke ranks while the cars were still circulating, lining the start-finish straight as Mansell took the chequered flag before storming onto the circuit with cavalier disregard for the remainder of the field still circulating at racing speed.
The invasion was infectious, from a smattering of isolated fans at one moment to an overwhelming circuit-wide influx within seconds. The concept of safety in numbers provided an insulating blanket to the fans, but the lack of incident was merely a happy accident – especially with Gerhard Berger's engine expiring spectacularly as he toured home in fifth place.
Accosting Mansell at Maggots and Becketts, the crowd conjured a Union Jack for the Briton to flourish from his cockpit as he toured down the Hangar Straight, before the Williams was overwhelmed by the sheer mass of fans at Club Corner. Hoisted aloft by the hailing crowd, Mansell eventually required a police escort to even make the podium ceremony, where his dotingly sycophantic public drank in their hero's every fist pump with ecstatic glee.
It was a charmingly good-natured yet frighteningly irresponsible outpouring of collective ecstasy, and one of the reserved British public's most unbecomingly flamboyant expressions of communal sporting triumph.
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