Monumental task

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Sir,

This year on July 29 it will be exactly 30 years since Roger Williamson died in a horrible accident during the Dutch Grand Prix of 1973.

A small group of Zandvoort fans is trying to raise funds for a monument for him at the location where this happened (it’s part of a golf course now). It is not only for Williamson but also for David Purley, who was the only person trying to save Roger’s life — and for Piers Courage who had died not far away from that spot three years earlier.

Williamson’s unnecessary death is not something for Zandvoort to be proud of, but it was an eye-opener: this was how things should not be organised during races.

Sadly, I can remember a similar situation that happened as recently as 1999. It occurred when the Williams team came to Zandvoort to do demonstration runs at the renewed track. Alex Zanardi and Ralf Schumacher gave a good show until the latter’s engine blew up. He came to a halt in the Marlboro Corner, where the car caught fire. Amazingly, the marshals stood there confused, not knowing what to do! Ralf jumped out, shouting for them to help. One responded — extinguisher in one hand, ice-cream in the other. Ralf ripped the extinguisher out his hand and started to put the fire out. Only then did the marshal throw his ice-cream away and help.

This could not have happened closer to the spot where Williamson had died 26 years earlier!

I am, yours etc,
Arjan van der Lem, Beverwijk, Holland