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British Fatalities Analysis

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Was Kenny Carter in the race when the young Chris Prime was killed.??

Yes. Heat 2 of the meeting v Mildenhall at Brough Park on 3 April 1978.

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Yes. Heat 2 of the meeting v Mildenhall at Brough Park on 3 April 1978.

On my Birthday as well Joe Heat 2. Carter,Prime,Leeks,Taylor god time goes so fast it is frightening. Edited by Sidney the robin

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Hi Rob. Sorry but I did miss recording Wayne's sad demise which would put the 90's on 2 in 10 years for 0.2

 

 

Compost, no problem, it's an interesting analysis and does show have safety has improved down the decades.

 

You're never going to be able to stop every serious accident, but let's hope that David Nix in 2002 remains the last fatality in British Speedway for a long, long time.

 

All the best

Rob

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I would also say that at certain points in the sports history there would be a greater chance of a fatality - at the start of the sport in Britain you would have large numbers of untrained riders having a go on tracks managed by people who had yet to learn how dangerous the sport could be for instance.

I'm sure that is correct. However, given that, it is interesting that there do not seem to be any fatalities for 1928. Is it just that they weren't recorded?

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However, I do disagree with your final paragraph. I suggest that the design of certain tracks (the lamp stands at Hackney, the earth bank and poor track preparation at Audenshaw) would make a serious incident more likely. I would also say that at certain points in the sports history there would be a greater chance of a fatality - at the start of the sport in Britain you would have large numbers of untrained riders having a go on tracks managed by people who had yet to learn how dangerous the sport could be for instance. The same would apply after the second world war when again there was a large number of new and inexperienced riders coming into the sport and riding on new and unknown tracks - don't forget that the influx of new riders with new (ish) tracks in 1960 and the late 60's/early 70's didn't have the same sad outcome.

This is why I raised the issue of "dangerous" tracks, as it does seem to be something that is consistently ignored in discussions on the subject.

 

Now, I cannot argue your point about a serious incident "more likely", but I still don't believe that whenever something happens, we can just blame it on "design". Sometimes things just happen, and in the case of a speedway fatality, I just think that it is a tragic combination of circumstances.

 

I have never been to Newcastle, but what is the design there? Would you consider it "dangerous"? More dangerous than other tracks because of the design? Is it as dangerous as Hackney?

 

Again, I will not argue your claim, but while I am a total anorak who loves stats, I don't allow myself to get too carried away by them. No, statistics do not lie in themselves, but the story behind them isn't always a reflection of the truth.

 

You raise an excellent point about the chances of a fatality occurring at certain points in time when there are more untrained riders in action. It is interesting how we tend to forget things like this when we look for specific "reasons", but that is why it is important to look at various factors.

 

I'm sure that is correct. However, given that, it is interesting that there do not seem to be any fatalities for 1928. Is it just that they weren't recorded?

Charlie Biddle and Cliff Mawson were both killed in 1928, but you raise another interesting point. Realistically, one would have expected more fatalities in the first year.

 

Steve

Edited by chunky
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Definitely agree that there was a greater risk of fatalities and serious injuries at track as such as Hackney, where metal lamp-posts were a lethal threat. Unlike Wolverhampton, where Gary Peterson was killed after striking a post in 1975, The Wick was a faster track, which only increased the danger factor.

 

Leicester was another fast one, so it's surprising that no-one (as far as I know) was killed racing at Blackbird Road, although a number did suffered bad injuries there (inc Nigel Boocock, Mike Lanham, Tony Davey, Geoff Bouchard).

 

Most would agree that King's Lynn - even in the solid wooden boards era - was one of the safest tracks around and yet it has one of, if not the worst, records for fatalities. Brett Alderton, Leif Wahlmann and David Nix all killed at Saddlebow Road.

Edited by tmc

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I'm sure that is correct. However, given that, it is interesting that there do not seem to be any fatalities for 1928. Is it just that they weren't recorded?

 

'Chunky' got there first with 2 in 1928. A 'whoops' of mine as I only look at the League years and didn't think to include 1928. No idea why 1928 was lower than 1929, the only thing I can think of is that perversly the inexperienced went slower (maybe League racing made riders speed up - though Audenshaw was never a League track).

 

Incidentially, Charlie Biddle is the earliest recorded fatality in British Speedway (May 1928 Stamford Bridge). The other 1928 fatality was at Rochdale.

 

Deadliest track in 1929 was Preston with 2. 1 each for Middlesbrough, Edinburgh MG, Leicester Super & Audenshaw.

This is why I raised the issue of "dangerous" tracks, as it does seem to be something that is consistently ignored in discussions on the subject.

 

Now, I cannot argue your point about a serious incident "more likely", but I still don't believe that whenever something happens, we can just blame it on "design". Sometimes things just happen, and in the case of a speedway fatality, I just think that it is a tragic combination of circumstances.

 

I have never been to Newcastle, but what is the design there? Would you consider it "dangerous"? More dangerous than other tracks because of the design? Is it as dangerous as Hackney?

 

Again, I will not argue your claim, but while I am a total anorak who loves stats, I don't allow myself to get too carried away by them. No, statistics do not lie in themselves, but the story behind them isn't always a reflection of the truth.

 

You raise an excellent point about the chances of a fatality occurring at certain points in time when there are more untrained riders in action. It is interesting how we tend to forget things like this when we look for specific "reasons", but that is why it is important to look at various factors.

 

Steve

 

Thanks for the reply. I do agree with what you are saying btw. 'Chance' is made up of so many things all inter-related. The only thing is that the decisions we make can raise (or lower) the odds sometimes significantly.

I remember watching a GP some time back were this one rider kept going wide and the commentator noted that the rider was getting closer to the, wire, safety fence on the back straight. Sure enough he ended up with the handlebars caught on the wire and off he went - not seriously thankfully. One of the choices he made that led to the crash was to keep piling it on and to take a wide line, had he eased off or chosen another line then he wouldn't have ended up on the deck.

 

I just show the stats.

 

Most would agree that King's Lynn - even in the solid wooden boards era - was one of the safest tracks around and yet it has one of, if not the worst, records for fatalities. Brett Alderton, Leif Wahlmann and David Nix all killed at Saddlebow Road.

 

I didn't want to examine the tracks at which the accidents happened at in any details but I have looked at some of them and Hackney (5) and Audenshaw (3) match or exceed in numbers. In fact Audenshaw has a worse annual rate as they only operated for 4 years.

 

Very sad.

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One other factor to perhaps consider is dangerous "tracks", and I am not talking about track conditions. As I said, it is difficult to pinpoint specific reasons, but look at tracks like Newcastle and Hackney. Both have a terrible record as far as fatalities, but is it an accurate reflection of the track, or merely tragic coincidence? Of course, a major factor in Hackney's history was exposed lamp standards, but does that mean it was too dangerous? Does that mean that with Hackney's demise, British speedway automatically became a little safer? Sounds feasible, but I am not convinced...

 

 

Newcastle's Brough Park imo does not have a "terrible record" as you say above. Brough Park has been going much longer than most tracks did, we started in 1929 and we have had 4 fatalities. The fatalities were Bill Nichol, Charlie Appleby, Chris Prime and Wayne Garratt. Sorry to disagree with you on this sensitive issue.. Brough Park is tricky to master but not inherently dangerous

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Newcastle's Brough Park imo does not have a "terrible record" as you say above. Brough Park has been going much longer than most tracks did, we started in 1929 and we have had 4 fatalities. The fatalities were Bill Nichol, Charlie Appleby, Chris Prime and Wayne Garratt. Sorry to disagree with you on this sensitive issue.. Brough Park is tricky to master but not inherently dangerous

I apologise for any offence caused, as there was none intended. The simple fact is that it does have a poor record, alongside several other tracks.

 

As I said, I have never been there, so I cannot comment on design or other aspects that might make it more dangerous. That is why I asked. Hackney was generally considered a "dangerous" track, but I have never heard that said about Newcastle, which makes the number of fatalities there a little surprising. That is the point I am trying to make, that while there are factors that can increase/decrease the safety rating, it does basically come down to "chance".

 

Steve

Edited by chunky
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Definitely agree that there was a greater risk of fatalities and serious injuries at track as such as Hackney, where metal lamp-posts were a lethal threat. Unlike Wolverhampton, where Gary Peterson was killed after striking a post in 1975, The Wick was a faster track, which only increased the danger factor.

 

Leicester was another fast one, so it's surprising that no-one (as far as I know) was killed racing at Blackbird Road, although a number did suffered bad injuries there (inc Nigel Boocock, Mike Lanham, Tony Davey, Geoff Bouchard).

 

Most would agree that King's Lynn - even in the solid wooden boards era - was one of the safest tracks around and yet it has one of, if not the worst, records for fatalities. Brett Alderton, Leif Wahlmann and David Nix all killed at Saddlebow Road.

Neal Watson was also killed at King's Lynn in 1984. Edited by frigbo
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I agree on the chance element. I was doping and oiling at a Coventry winter training session when a guy clipped a back wheel, straightened up just enough to hit the wire safety fence at the perfect angle to catapult him onto the concrete terracing. I was nearest the gate through to the terracing and will always remember being one of the first to reach him, only to find he had serious head injury because of how he happened to land. He died in hospital several days later. Roger Hill, on the other hand, had a very similar situation at Coventry, also landing on the concrete terrace but he actually walked away, suffering only a broken arm.

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I agree on the chance element. I was doping and oiling at a Coventry winter training session when a guy clipped a back wheel, straightened up just enough to hit the wire safety fence at the perfect angle to catapult him onto the concrete terracing. I was nearest the gate through to the terracing and will always remember being one of the first to reach him, only to find he had serious head injury because of how he happened to land. He died in hospital several days later. Roger Hill, on the other hand, had a very similar situation at Coventry, also landing on the concrete terrace but he actually walked away, suffering only a broken arm.

Tony O'Donnell?

Edited by frigbo

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I agree on the chance element. I was doping and oiling at a Coventry winter training session when a guy clipped a back wheel, straightened up just enough to hit the wire safety fence at the perfect angle to catapult him onto the concrete terracing. I was nearest the gate through to the terracing and will always remember being one of the first to reach him, only to find he had serious head injury because of how he happened to land. He died in hospital several days later. Roger Hill, on the other hand, had a very similar situation at Coventry, also landing on the concrete terrace but he actually walked away, suffering only a broken arm.

What year was that sad day at Coventry you are referring to ?

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Tony O'Donell?

It has to be.

What year was that sad day at Coventry you are referring to ?

Tony O'Donnell crashed on December 6, 1975, and died at the end of the month without regaining consciousness.

 

Steve

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