Continental notes, September 2004
Jenks on safety, ’58
The past two months have been sad ones for grand prix racing, for first Luigi Musso was killed and then Peter Collins, while earlier in the year Archie Scott Brown lost his life. On each occasion a post mortem of the accidents suggested that the actual death was caused by a definite object; with Scott Brown it was a signpost, with Musso a ditch, with Collins a tree; and after each accident some have suggested that it was careless, and even criminal, to have left these objects on the edge of the circuit.
If you suggested to Duncan Hamilton that all ditches should be filled in I am sure he would disagree, for it was a ditch that saved him from being crushed when his Jaguar turned over at Le Mans; it rolled across the ditch so that his head and shoulders did not touch the ground. If you suggested that every tree be removed I personally would object, for it was a tree that prevented Stirling Moss and myself from going end-over-end down into a rocky valley when we crashed in the 1956 Mille Miglia.
Perhaps I’m a fatalist, but I feel that once an accident has started there is little that can be done to direct the consequences; it is a matter of sheer luck whether you get killed or not.
Scott Brown, Musso and Collins died doing what they really enjoyed — racing and having a go; let us not bewail the fact. They cannot be replaced, but the memory of their exploits will live forever. They died fighting, and there can surely be no better death.