All safety aspects at South Dakota under review before another race meet
By Steve Ninvalle
December 21, 2002
The Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club plans a complete examination and review of the South Dakota circuit before another motor racing meeting is staged there.
Public Relations Consultant to the club Kit Nascimento made the disclosure in a recent interview with Stabroek Sport.
The move comes in the wake of the November 3 accident during the Gavin Naraine Memorial International meeting which claimed the lives of two children.
Englishman David Brodie lost control of his Ford Cosworth Escort in the third lap of the first Group Three event causing the vehicle to careen through a chain-link fence into the back of a minibus which was parked behind.
It resulted in the car slamming into a number of spectators killing Dyna and Ashton De Souza, six and three years old respectively, and injuring several others.
"Stanley Ming, the president has stated that it's the club's intention to do a complete examination and review of the circuit in terms of all other security (safety) aspects. Not merely the corner where the accident took place but everywhere," Nascimento said. .
The tragic incident marked the first time that a spectator's life was snuffed out during a meeting at the circuit. The GMRSC set up an inquiry committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident.
The three-man committee comprising Joseph King, Philip De Freitas and Eric Vieira met and made several recommendations including: that safety barriers be constructed at Turn Two, the construction of a dam at least three feet high just behind the existing fence, stacking of a suitable quantity of tyres in front of the existing fence and that the club should review the entire circuit with a view to improving safety at the track.
Quizzed how the incident may affect motor racing at South Dakota, the former speedster stated that he does not feel it will influence spectator attendance in a negative way.
"If you mean affect in terms of spectator interest, I don't anticipate it would have a negative effect. Spectators go out to watch nonetheless, rather more for the spills and the thrill than for any technical reasons.
"I don't think that as terrible and as tragic as the accident was,
and the fact that there was an accident is going to discourage spectators from going. Maybe one effect it may have on the spectators, is for them to be rather more cautious with regard to their discipline and behaving in accordance with the requirements.
For instance there were signs that said that you should not park as close to the fence as the bus was parked. I think the spectators should be more inclined to observe those requirements in the future," Nascimento stated.
The former racer added: "I think it will affect positively the security of the spectators. They'll be more inclined to understand that if they don't observe the rules and regulations that apply to spectators, that they put themselves at risk. So I think it will have an effect in that for future race meetings the administrators of the race meetings will pay more attention to the possibilities of even the remotest of accidents. And I want to say this, that this was a very, very unusual accident."
"I think that motor racing is the kind of sport where you cannot ever completely anticipate preventing an accident."
Nascimento declined a comment when asked if the GMR&SC holds any responsibility to the family of those killed at the meeting.
It's something I'd rather not comment on because it has legal implications attached. I do know however, that the club has remained very close with the family. And it's a motor racing family, and they now have a somewhat different attitude than a non motor racing family. They were not casual spectators, they were part of the motor racing fraternity. It's tragic that they should have suffered this lost. But they perhaps see things a little differently to the casual spectators who were there. The club I know has gone the extra mile to support and assist the family in every way they possibly can, without going into details."
In concluding Nascimento declared that the sport is the best organised in Guyana. "I'm still of the view that of all the sports organised in Guyana, motor racing is the best organised and I'm the president of the Guyana Rugby Football Union and I still say that."