Thruxton defends safety of its circuit after BTCC crashes
|By Kevin Turner||Tuesday, May 6th 2014, 18:31 GMT|
Thruxton operators have moved to defend the circuit after the high-speed crashes suffered at its British Touring Car Championship round last weekend.
Nick Foster, Ollie Jackson and Simon Belcher all had crashes at the fast Church right-hander, with Foster and Belcher making it over the tyre barrier on the outside of the corner.
All three escaped serious injury, but the incidents raised concerns over the safety measures at the circuit.
In a statement, Thruxton's group managing director Bill Coombs confirmed the issue would be investigated, but warned against any rash action.
"Any accidents at a motor racing meeting are regrettable, but as a racer myself, I fully understand that it is not desirable to have cars ending up among the bushes," he said.
"That is something we will be addressing, but by the same token, we need to be careful in this kind of situation not to jump to any kneejerk reactions or conclusions.
"Church is a high-speed, challenging corner, and like all the classic corners, it is just this that makes it so exciting and rewarding to get right.
"There is a significant amount of run-off area - more than at many other circuits - and the result is that when accidents do occur, drivers are thankfully able to climb out of the car and walk away, as was the case last weekend.
"The last thing we want to do is remove the character of Thruxton, but safety is of course of paramount importance.
"We will be working closely in conjunction with the MSA and FIA, who are the acknowledged experts in this area in our sport, to see if we can make further improvements."
The MSA, the governing body of the sport in the UK, also issued a statement.
"The MSA's policy has always been to operate a robust and continual risk assessment programme, an important part of which is to monitor incidents at events and to investigate these as appropriate," said the statement.
"All race circuits hosting MSA authorised activities are inspected on an annual basis as part of the MSA Track Licence system.
"In addition to its MSA credentials, Thruxton also holds a valid FIA Track Licence which requires its own tri-annual inspection process.
"BARC (Thruxton) Ltd, as operators of the venue, and BARC, as organisers of the race meeting, are pleased to co-operate with the MSA in the course of this investigation."