Wednesday January 24, 2018 at 11:31am
Following the incidents that occurred at the Scarborough Gold Cup meeting held in September 2017 that led to several serious injuries to spectators the ACU (Motorcycle Sports governing body in the UK) held an inquiry to review the events that occurred on the day and to also look at the wider topic of safety at pure road racing venues.
Under an independent chair, senior members of the road race committee and representatives of the organising club, Auto 66, initially looked at the events leading up to the accidents. It was decided that the actions taken by the officials on the day were correct, the serious incident plans in place at the circuit were robust and the actions of the on site medical team exemplary. Furthermore, mention was made of the volunteer marshals who reacted in a calm and organised manner to ensure that everything possible was done to make certain that the injured parties were treated as quickly as possible. The Emergency Services response was quick and efficient and the co-ordination with the track based personnel was good.
Looking at the actual incidents it was deemed that the close proximity of the two accidents was purely co-incidental and in no way related to any inherent problems with that part of the track. Whilst being mindful of the unique nature of venues such as Oliver’s Mount which are part of the rich history of motor sport in the United Kingdom and bring pleasure to countless thousands of people the inquiry panel were heedful that everything possible needs to be done to ensure that safety at these type of venues was paramount, particularly for spectators and a inch by inch review of the track was conducted. This review was always mindful of trying to maintain the atmosphere of public roads racing and allowing the public as much access as possible to get as close to the action as is reasonably possible.
A number of recommendations were made by the committee, including the increased use of “recticel” protective barriers, strengthening of existing fencing at certain key points and the increased use of glance protection on existing post and rail fencing. Some restriction of spectator areas was also proposed which would not adversely affect the overall viewing experience. Further recommendations included the restriction of motorcycle size for newcomer riders, additional drainage points and the temporary removal of road signs. Lightweight course markings will also be introduced to prevent course limit transgression by competitors.
With the recognition that Oliver’s Mount is a public road the above recommendations will require sanction by Scarborough Council and considerable capital investment by the Auto 66 club. The ACU will look at offering some financial assistance to the club which will also allow other temporary circuits in the North East to use the transportable safety equipment. It is envisaged the improvements will be in place by mid-March 2018 before the first meeting, the Spring Gold Cup on 21 April.