Scarborough’s famous Oliver’s Mount circuit may be in for a few tweaks before racing is allowed next year after two crashes at last weekend’s Gold Cup saw 12 spectators were injured as bikes ridden by Jamie Coward and Daley Mathison crashed through the wooden fence at Drury’s Hairpin in separate races.
ACU general secretary Gary Thompson was spectating at the track last Sunday, when the racing for the day was stopped, but will be making a return visit, this time on a risk assessment mission. Both riders were unhurt although a number of fans were injured. Two remain in hospital with injuries described as serious but not life threatening. Racing was brought to a premature halt as the circuit simply ran out of hospital transport.
Thompson, also Clerk of the Course at the TT and the Classic TT, at one time fulfilled a similar role at Oliver’s Mount. He is therefore well aquainted with road circuits and public safety is front of mind. He is not a subscriber to the theory that accidents just happen and will no doubt be examining how the circumstances and results of both crashes appeared to be similar, although one took place three races after the other. There is also the seeming curiosity of how Mathison’s electric bike got into a petrol-fuelled 600 race.
It was a sad end to the Gold Cup meeting which, together with others under the stewardship of Peter Hillaby and the Auto 66 club, have for years filled Oliver’s Mount with road racing fans occupying a truly unique circuit which even Barry Sheene, no lover of roads, raced at and won many times.
Changes can, and no doubt will, be made. Riders and certainly spectators need as much protection as possible without spoiling a classic spectacle. And the insurance companies will, no doubt, have their say.