A classic touring car race at the Brands Hatch Circuit turned disastrous after a collision saw a car fly into the air and roll across the top of the protective metal fencing before coming to rest on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at about 3pm local time. A marshal was killed in the accident.
The car in question, a Ford Escort, sustained severe damage, and Kent Online has reported that a trackside marshal was also involved in the crash. There was no immediate update on either the driver or the marshal, both of whom were immediately attended to by emergency personnel.
Twitter user @CammieRacing shared a photo of the emergency helicopter sitting on the track, writing, “I’ve never seen this at Brands Hatch and they’re still extricating the driver from the car… the emergency team are holding up blankets to block the view. I won’t take photos of them out of respect but it’s been half hour now.” She also stated that the Ford Escort barreled right into a marshal outpost.
There are clips circulating on the internet, but we will not be sharing them out of respect for both the driver and the marshal involved.
Several hours after the incident, and there was still no official news about the incident. Competitor Charlie Martin reported that no further racing would be taking part that day.
An official statement from the British Automobile Racing Club confirmed the news at roughly 9:09 PM local time: a volunteer marshal was killed in the crash. There was no update about the driver.
This isn’t the first bad crash at Brands Hatch in the recent past. Last weekend, one British Superbike rider was placed in an induced coma after a nasty first-lap accident on the track. The rider, Brad Jones, sustained severe injuries to his head, neck, and chest.
There have also been similar accidents, with cars landing on top of or behind the fencing during a crash.
The fact that this has been a frequent problem indicates a serious fault in the circuit layout, especially regarding the fencing. The safety equipment at the track appears to require a significant upgrade to ensure the wellbeing of both the racers and the track personnel who could be severely injured in even a standard racing incident.
It’s also a reminder that the marshals who volunteer their time at the race track are, in many ways, the unsung heroes of racing. Without them, racing would stop in its tracks — and these marshals are often unpaid for their efforts.
Our thoughts are with the family of the marshal at this time.