The Very Meaning of Bravery

It can be very easy at times to forget that not all forms of motor racing come neatly packaged.

Lurk through the wider world of motorsport and it is not too difficult to source small localised events where not every driver is a slick machine, trying to push their career forward.
Believe it or not, there are people in the real world that actually like to have fun… (or so I’m told.)

Last week at the 2nd Annual Stock Car Nationals at Oklahoma Sports Park, drivers Terry Muskratt, Brian Wolfe and Steve Little collided during the feature event, with Muskratt taking the brunt of carnage.

Pinballing hard between the out of control machinery and the concrete retaining wall, the trio came to a stop in the middle of the dirt track, with Muskratt’s stock car upside down and in flames. While fire marshal’s – minus fire protective clothing – attempted to tend to the burning car, reigning Nationals Champion, Kip Hughes, pulled over to lend assistance.

The 27-year-old Hughes ripped off the inner netting that lines the window space and then at the door of Muskratt’s car, eventually pulling the driver out of the wreck and to safety.
It was a remarkable feat by the exhausted Hughes, whose own father suffered serious burns in a similar accident twenty years ago.

So used to the clinical features presented by modern state-of-the-art circuits, the accident went some way to displaying how far behind local circuits can be in terms of safety measures.
Irrespective of the current state of the economy, there is no excuse for marshal’s not wearing firesuits – that kind of occurrence belongs back in the 1970’s.

[Not for the squeamish]

6 thoughts on “The Very Meaning of Bravery

  1. Wow, Thanks for sharing this. I remember as a child watching Ronnie Peterson’s accident in Monza 1978. That one ended in tragedy, thankfully this one didn’t.

    1. Aye. The Peterson accident happened a few years before I was born, but I know about it very well. You’re right that thankfully this did end well, but fire marshal’s with such unprotective gear, it could have much worse.

  2. That is criminal. Marshals in tee shirts, wrong type of fire extinguishers, no plan to get the driver out and a commentator behaving like it is entertainment. That track should be shut down and every on in any senior position fired.

    1. Maybe I have missed it, but I haven’t seen any statement from the track yet, which is strange considering the incident has gone somewhat viral.

  3. I’d have to say that I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never been to a track with such lax safety standards. In fact, I’d also have to say that I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t actually been one of those marshalls without a fire suit at a track like that. Granted, there’s always been at least one person with a fire suit who was around to pull somebody out in an ugly occurrence such as that one, but it does make you stop to think “what if that had been at one of the races I marshalled at?” Yikes. I’ll be having a good, long think before the next time I do anything like that again.

    1. To be honest, I can only judge it by my own (relative few) adventures in marshalling here in the UK, but one thing was always certain – we never left the pitlane without being in full gear.
      For trackside safety personnel to be in action without protective gear during the live in this day and age, smacks of shocking incompetence by both circuit and series management.

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