One of the elements of special interest to me in May’s edition of Motor Sport was the picture of Felice Bonetto in action, which appeared in Tony Watson’s story about Oscar Galvez.
This is the 50th year since Bonetto was killed in the Carrera Panamericana, and there is a curious connection between that incident and present-day motorsport. The crash happened in a town called Silao, which lies close to Leon, in Guanajuato province. Leon is the city where the Corona Rally Mexico is held; an event which could be one of two possible new additions to the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship.
When I was in Mexico this year reporting on the Corona Rally I went to look for the site of Bonetto’s crash, but could not find it, even though I knew there is a commemorative plaque at that place.
So I took a Mexican colleague, Guy Lassauzet, and went again to Silao looking for any male over 70 years who might know where the accident happened. We immediately found a gentleman of 82, who took us straight there. He explained about the dip in the road at a crossroads where Bonetto had lost control of the car.
Our friend then told us how he had helped move the wrecked Lancia D24 out of sight of other competitors. He remembered everything like it was yesterday, and he was so moved that someone had asked him about the crash after so many years that tears welled up in his eyes.
I measured the distance between the track and the point of impact with the house. It was about 75 metres — and the car had been spinning around in the air all the way.
I am, Yours etc,
Martin Holmes, Woking, Surrey
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