View Full Version : Sad Day for Racing Enthusiasts loss of Micheal Park

tall and tasty
19th Sep 2005, 09:04
My brother was attending the Wales Rally and said Saturday was brillant.

But we got a call to say he would be back early because of a sad incident, that Michael Park had been killed


Wondered if anyone else went, what peoples thoughts were on it and whether racing in these conditions/track should carry on or not.

I think they should knowing a few that race and having an uncle who participated in this sort of rally driving for years at international level


TnT :suspect:

19th Sep 2005, 09:09
Rallying is the only form of motorsport I ever enjoyed, I used to watch the RAC as it passed through Newcastle in the old days, just before the Kielder stages.

It's a hazardous sport, the participants know what they're getting into & the cars are generally as safe as the teams can make them. Drivers always talk about 'pushing' & there is always a risk with the reward. It's a sad event sure enough, but I see no reason to kneejerk against rallying - to my mind, the biggest risk takers are some of the spectators you see standing around in the silliest places.

Biggles Flies Undone
19th Sep 2005, 09:29
I followed the RAC all through the 1980's with a bunch of mates - that was in the days of a proper rally covering great areas such as Wales, The Lake District, Kielder Forest, Hamsterley Forest, Dalby Forest and the Forest of Dean. Typically, we would cover about 1,200 miles in the motor home over the six day period. There was a lot of night rallying and the crews got very little sleep.

All of the above was in the Group B period - massively powerful cars that were really difficult to drive even before the lack of sleep and November weather was factored in.

I believe that the last death of a driver was that of Henri Toivonen - and that signalled the end of Group B and the introduction of the current machinery with far less power and much higher safety levels.

The cars have changed but the stages haven't (other than being shorter) - you can't cut down trees like you can on a circuit. Rallying is still dangerous and the majority of participants at the top level are in it for the buzz. They know the risks.

As for going to see it - not a chance. I prefer to remember it as a great Rally, not a few days around the crowded, speed camera filled roads of Wales paying a fortune to watch what we used to see for free :mad:

19th Sep 2005, 09:48
Such tragic accident! A great loss to WRC, Michael Park and Markko Martin were a great team. Condolences to his family!


19th Sep 2005, 09:50
T&T, Over the last few years there have been some really big crashes on the WRC circuit. Colin McRaes mega accident in Corsica and Solbergs crash in Germany come to mind. In Mcraes Case he went into a gully at 60-70 m.p.h and landed at the bottom some 40 feet down on the roof. Although injured they both survived. Safety is taken very seriously and serious money is put into developing the roll cages. I believe the focus has something like 60 Meters of tubing in the roll cage.

Despite some very serious accidents over the years and considering the amount of mileage these guys do between Competing and testing there has really been a miniscule amount of fatalities at the top level.

What happened yesterday was so awful. That man had a wife and two children that are left behind. Marko Martin must be feeling awful feelings of guilt today, its something he will always have to live with.

tall and tasty
19th Sep 2005, 10:06
Marko Martin must be feeling awful feelings of guilt today, its something he will always have to live with

I imagine it must be awful for him but it was an accident and unfortunately hitting a tree the chances of survival at that speed at minimal.

My aunt/mother went through this every time my uncle and my father got behind the wheels of their car and in the days of poor communication on the track if nothing was seen of a driver or car then the worst was expected. My uncle did not actually die from racing but was glued together with as many pieces of metal they could put in him but there were times when we though we would loose him.

But unfortunately something my mother and aunt used to say was it came with the territory. It certainly makes it no easier for his wife and family left behind, the team or for Marko Martin


19th Sep 2005, 10:28
and unfortunately hitting a tree the chances of survival at that speed at minimal.

Well you would be suprised. Francois Delacour hit a tree head on in Australia well into a three figure speed (M.P.H), with such force that the engine was thrown 50 meters clear of the car and they both had minor enough injuries. It just goes to show how strong the cars are.

Biggles Flies Undone
19th Sep 2005, 10:36
Rally drivers tend to be far more 'robust' in their view of accidents than their circuit racing cousins (think difference between football and rugby players). Tony Pond told a wonderful story at one of our marshalls meetings back in the 80s - his navigator miscounted the number of jumps on the high speed Eppynt stages and called a crest as 'flat' when it was actually followed by a 90 right. They left the road doing "Ten trees a second" and when the banging finally stopped they were amazed to find themselves still alive. Then the navigator looked down and saw a rapidly spreading dark stain in the bottom half of his overalls and said "Christ, I hope that's blood!" :D

19th Sep 2005, 11:14
Sad indeed.

As has been said already though, it's a speed sport, accidents will happen and sadly from time to time even the most resilient vehicle structure will not protect the occupants from their fate. The risks cannot be removed entirely and the competitors accept that.

The fact that there are so few serious injuries or fatalities speaks volumes for the degree of secondary safety within the sport. The primary safety is especially difficult to improve in a rally environment, the essence of the sport dictates so.

Personally, I feel there's no need for major reviews of safety in rallying. On a circuit, if you improve the 'safety' of any given corner the driver invariably compensates to some degree by pushing just that little bit harder anyway. The same would be true in rallying.

One of my favourite circuits in the UK is Cadwell Park. Not least because the lack of run-off and close presence of clearly immoveable objects focuses the mind superbly and make it exciting in a way few circuits are now. Sadly, two racing aquaintances lost their lives there last year. The result is yet more focus, they're never spared a passing thought on visits there, but I'd not wish for a change in the circuit or the abandonment of its use, one or the other of which looked possible for a while. To my mind the occurence of either would simply have been yet another loss added to those already suffered, I'm sure they'd have felt the same.

Any major changes to rallying as result of one unfortunate death would be equally sad and unnecessary and more than likely begin to send the sport the way F1 has been sent over the years.

It's impossible to even begin to imagine the feelings Marko Martin must be suffering. I believe that to be the driver of a vehicle at full race speeds whilst carrying a passenger requires an additional degree of bravery, I've tried and certainly couldn't drive at anything like 10/10ths, it's a huge responsibility. Now he has to be braver still.

Immediately, for the family of Michael Park there will be no solace in the nature of his death. Eventually, however, I understand there can be some small degree of it to be found. The unthinkable has happened but facing that danger was his passion, he would have been incapable of belting himself into the seat otherwise. With time, hopefully, that knowledge can help to rationalise their loss as it allowed him to rationalise his presence there.

Marko, if little else right now, has the small support of such understanding already.

Jordan D
19th Sep 2005, 14:16
No small comfort, but something I was told by a wise older friend was that it is a better way to die doing something you enjoyed than doing nothing at all. Micheal Park's family can at least have that fact.


Onan the Clumsy
19th Sep 2005, 14:24
to my mind, the biggest risk takers are some of the spectators you see standing around in the silliest places. That seems to be the general consensus, at least at big-boys.