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No more racing for Green

A freak accident at Goodwood means end of race career for well-known historic driver.

Veteran historic racer Willie Green says his competition career is over following his serious accident in the Goodwood Trophy race during the Goodwood Revival Meeting.

Green sustained leg injuries after being thrown out of his Maserati 4CLT and was then run over by the car as he lay injured on the track. The Maserati had hit a television camera positioned close to the apex of Woodcote Corner before spearing to the left and hitting a barrier. “How the hell I’m still here I don’t know,” said Green, 62. “The car ran over me twice. I just couldn’t move out of the way. It was like a nightmare where you’re tied to the railway track and the train is coming. I’ve probably done about a thousand races in everything imaginable and I’d never hurt myself in 45 years of competition.

“I should walk again, but I will never race again,” Green added, before admitting that he still hopes to take part in track days and tests. “My wife and daughter were watching the race and I don’t want to put them through that again.”

Green was full of praise for the attention he received at the circuit. “The medical response team at Goodwood is as good as you’ll get anywhere,” he said, “and the marshals were wonderful.”

After being treated at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, Green has recently undergone extensive surgery in a hospital close to his Derby home. He remains in good spirits despite the severity of his injuries: “I’ve had support from people all over the world. I’m getting my legs sorted, but I’ll never run or ski or play tennis again. It’s more serious than people have said.”

The cause of the crash remained unknown as we closed for press.

***

FJ racer seriously injured in Spa shunt

British Formula Junior racer Andrew Spence is making a steady recovery from the multiple injuries he sustained in a dreadful accident at Spa-Francorchamps during the recent Lurani Trophy round.

Spence’s 1960 Elva 200 spun off at the top of Eau Rouge in the first of the weekend’s pair of races and bounced off the tyre wall back into the path of the Lotus 22 of Michael Waller, who was unable to avoid a massive impact with the Elva. After being released from the remains of his car, Spence was airlifted to hospital in Liège.

Since then Spence has been undergoing surgery to fuse damaged vertebrae in his back. He also sustained 10 broken ribs as well as shoulder and leg injuries. Initial reports showed that he was slowly regaining feeling in his legs and he was due to return to the UK by ambulance early in October. The Ely-based driver now faces a lengthy period of recovery.

Waller, although understandably shocked by the violent accident, was uninjured in the collision.

During the same race Dr Dietrich Merkel was very fortunate to escape with nothing more serious than a broken nose when his Britannia flipped over while being towed behind a recovery truck. The German racer was knocked unconscious in the incident but was later able to return home.

***

Masters expansion

The Masters series has taken a major step ahead with the announcement that the organisation has acquired the two Gentleman Drivers series formerly managed by Carol Spagg.

For 2006 the races for GT/Sports Endurance and Sports Racing cars will run alongside the Masters series for Grand Prix and World Sportscars.

Over recent years Spagg has built her twin series into popular and oversubscribed races running at major historic events across Europe.

“I’m handing on the control of a great group of people and a wonderful selection of cars so that a broader management can take it forwards” said Spagg.

GPM creator Ron Maydon added: “With this acquisition the Masters series now has an excellent spread of historic racing for drivers and owners. We are now able to offer a much wider package to sponsors, festival organisers and tracks.”

No 2006 calendar has been announced, but the Masters package now runs to six races, two of them over mini-endurance distances.  Further acquisitions have not been ruled out, meaning the Masters group could soon have the potential to run complete race meetings.

***

Combe club split

The strong links between Castle Combe and the British Racing and Sports Car Club, which date back over 40 years, have been broken as the owners of the Wiltshire track seek to take control of the content of race meetings there.

Circuit owner Howard Strawford has resigned his position on the board of the BRSCC as a result of the split.

The move may well open up greater opportunities for classic and historic racing at the track. The HSCC hopes to run more races there: 2006 marks 40 years since its inaugural event —  the ‘Griffiths Formula’ race — at the venue.

***

Brown back in Bell

David Brown has returned to the cockpit of his ex-Pescarolo Brabham BT30 in the HSCC’s Derek Bell Trophy series almost a year after sustaining serious back injuries at Silverstone.

Though heavily damaged in the crash, the car has now been rebuilt.

Brown plans to run the BT30 in some Euro F2 races next year and is also having his ex-David Prophet BT6 converted back to FJ specification. “I was very steady to start with, but it was good to be back out again.” said Brown after his return race at Thruxton.

***

Show to mark GP century

One hundred years of grand prix racing will form a centrepiece to the Historic Hall at the Autosport International exhibition at the Birmingham NEC over the weekend of January 14/15.

The stunning showcase of a century of grand prix cars will be presented by the Donington Grand Prix Collection and will be one of the most significant static displays ever seen at a UK show.

Set in over a thousand square metres of floor space, the disdplay will include 25 important racing cars, ranging from the 1934 Maserati 8CM of Tazio Nuvolari to the 1996 Williams FW18 with which Damon Hill lifted the World Championship title.

Other famous exhibits will include the 1952 title-winning Ferrari 500 of Alberto Ascari, the 1961 Lotus 18/21 that Stirling Moss took to victory at Monaco, and the ex-Ronnie Peterson Tyrrell P34 six-wheeler. 

This will be the first time that these famous cars have been showcased together outside the Donington Grand Prix Collection.  A special centenary display by LAT Photograhic will support the feature.

“We are privileged to be hosting this unique showcase at the biggest motorsport show, which will include some of the most beautiful grand prix racing cars ever,” said Gavin Brown of Haymarket Exhibitions.

***

Friendly Fifty

The Mallory Park circuit in Leicestershire will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2006 with a commemorative race meeting on Sunday May 21.

The content of the meeting is being designed to reflect the circuit’s history, and Formula Junior is expected to feature prominently.

Now owned by former racer Chris Meek and operated by the BARC, the track opened with a motorbike meeting, on May13, 1956, which was followed by the first car meeting on Monday May 21.

***

Triple Scotch

The three surviving Ecosse C2 sportscars will be reunited under the Ecurie Ecosse banner for the 2006 Group C/GTP season.

Under the patronage of Hugh McCaig, the cars will be raced by Andrew Smith, Alasdair McCaig and Group C newcomer Tony Wood.

Wood will join the squad next year after his father Barry recently bought the Swiftair-livered C286 from John Pearson. Wood has previously raced in BRDC Historic Sports in a Lister-Jaguar.

McCaig Snr, who reincarnated the Ecurie Ecosse name in 1983, hopes that the three cars will race together in most Group C events next year. “It will be great to see all three back out with young drivers in them and not old farts!” he said.

***

Stellar Kneller

Tim Kneller has been confirmed as winner of the VSCC Motor Sport  Brooklands Memorial Trophy for 2005 after an excellent season in both his Riley 12/4 and the Riley Brooklands of John Collins.

The trophy is awarded for the most successful pre-war car in the season of VSCC races. Kneller’s campaign, which included driving the 12/4 to events, left him just three points clear of Julian Majzub, who was a multiple race winner in the Bentley Pacey Hassan.

“I’ve had a fantastic season,” said Kneller, who topped his year with a double win in the pouring rain at Mallory.