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IL: Brits lead Surtees tribute
26 July 2009
Several Firestone Indy Lights competitors paid tribute to fallen F2 driver Henry Surtees during the Edmonton weekend, carrying a memorial decal on their cars.
The idea was sparked by British drivers Martin Plowman and Pippa Mann, who both knew the son of former F1 champion John Surtees. The younger Surtees was fatally injured in a freak racing accident at Brands Hatch last weekend.
"Although we never raced against each other, we met on several occasions when I was doing the Porsche Cup races back in England last year," Mann revealed, "Henry and his dad bought a bunch of my karting gear when I moved up to open-wheel racing, so we knew each other, and I can say that he was a genuine nice person. It was just a really bad weekend for motorsports around the world, not only when you lose someone as talented as Henry, but also such a nice person."
Plowman's family distributed the decals to all drivers and will take a shirt and poster - carrying the same memorial decal and signed by the Grand Prix of Edmonton field - back to England and deliver it to the Surtees family.
"The first time I met Henry was actually the first time that he sat in a go-kart," Plowman said, "I was at an opening of a brand new track in England and they invited one driver from every class to do some demonstration laps - I was there demonstrating the 60cc class and he was there taking his first laps on a go-kart. After that, he was a familiar face in the paddock, and truly a nice guy. When I got the news [of his accident], I was devastated. It was a very bad day for the sport. It's just a tragedy and this weekend we'll race for him and I wish his family all the best."
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