Roger Williamson

Last updated

Roger Williamson
Born(1948-02-02)2 February 1948
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, England
Died29 July 1973(1973-07-29) (aged 25)
Zandvoort, Netherlands
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Flag of the United Kingdom.svg British
Active years 1973
Teams March
Entries2
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums0
Career points0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1973 British Grand Prix
Last entry 1973 Dutch Grand Prix

Roger Williamson (2 February 1948 – 29 July 1973) was a British racing driver who died during the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort Circuit in the Netherlands.

Auto racing motorsport involving the racing of cars for competition

Auto racing is a motorsport involving the racing of automobiles for competition.

1973 Dutch Grand Prix Formula One motor race held in 1973

The 1973 Dutch Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Zandvoort on July 29, 1973. It was race 10 of 15 in both the 1973 World Championship of Drivers and the 1973 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. Zandvoort returned to the Formula One calendar following a year's absence for extensive safety upgrades to the race track including new asphalt, new barriers and a new race control tower. Jackie Stewart won the race, this Grand Prix being fourth of five wins for Stewart during the 1973 Formula One season, and he became the most successful Formula One driver of all time with his 26th Grand Prix victory, surpassing Jim Clark's record of 25 victories. Stewart's friend and future world champion James Hunt scored his first podium finish.

Contents

Biography

Williamson was born in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire. He won the 1971 and 1972 British Formula 3 Championship titles. In 1973, he was offered a drive in the March Engineering works Formula One team. This was after testing for the BRM team and being advised not to take the drive. [1] [2]

Ashby-de-la-Zouch A small market town in Leicestershire, England

Ashby-de-la-Zouch, often shortened to Ashby, is an English market town and civil parish in North West Leicestershire, close to the Derbyshire border. It is twinned with Pithiviers in north-central France. Its 2001 census population of 11,410 increased to 12,370 in 2011. Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle had importance in the 15th–17th centuries. In the 19th century the town's main industries were ribbon manufacture, coal mining, and brickmaking. It was served by the Leicester–Burton upon Trent line of the Midland Railway from 1849. The civil parish includes the hamlets of Shellbrook to the west and Boundary to the north-west. Nearby villages include Lount, Normanton le Heath, Smisby, Packington, Donisthorpe, Oakthorpe, Moira, Measham and Coleorton. Swadlincote, Burton-upon-Trent, Melbourne and Coalville are within 10 miles (16 km), with Derby 11 12 miles (19 km) due north. Ashby lies at the heart of The National Forest, about 24 miles (39 km) south of the Peak District National Park, on the A42 between Tamworth and Nottingham.

March Engineering was a Formula One constructor and manufacturer of customer racing cars from the United Kingdom. Although only moderately successful in Grand Prix competition, March racing cars enjoyed much better achievement in other categories of competition, including Formula Two, Formula Three, IndyCar and IMSA GTP sportscar racing.

Formula One is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and owned by the Formula One Group. The FIA Formula One World Championship has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950. The word "formula" in the name refers to the set of rules to which all participants' cars must conform. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads.

Death

External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Footage of David Purley attempting to save Williamson who was trapped in his overturned and burning car on YouTube
The burned wreckage of Williamson's March 731, with Purley standing second left as Niki Lauda passes. Grand Prix van Nederland op circuit Zandvoort o.a. verongelukte racewagen van R, Bestanddeelnr 254-9433.jpg
The burned wreckage of Williamson's March 731, with Purley standing second left as Niki Lauda passes.
The scene of Williamson's fatal accident as Gijs van Lennep passes. Fatal accident at 1973 Dutch Grand Prix (3).jpg
The scene of Williamson's fatal accident as Gijs van Lennep passes.

After his Formula One debut at the 1973 British Grand Prix, Williamson's second Formula One appearance was at the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort Circuit. On his eighth lap, a suspected tyre failure caused his car to flip upside down and catch fire. Williamson had not been seriously injured by the impact, but was trapped under the car which was swiftly engulfed in flame. The track marshals were both poorly trained and badly equipped, and did not assist him. Another driver, David Purley, upon witnessing the crash of his friend, abandoned his own race and pulled over in a desperate and valiant attempt to rescue Williamson. He ran across the track to Williamson's car and tried to turn it upright, before grabbing a fire extinguisher from a marshal and returning to the engulfed car. He emptied it on the car and signalled for others to help. Purley's efforts to turn the car upright and extinguish the flames were in vain, and the marshals were unable to handle the vehicle without flame retardant overalls. Purley later stated he could hear Williamson's screams from underneath the car, but by the time the first fire engine arrived and the fire was extinguished, Williamson had died of asphyxiation. As most racers mistakenly identified Purley as the driver of the crashed car, and therefore thought the burning car to be empty, none of them stopped to help and the race continued, even as Purley stood on the circuit and gestured with his hands for them to stop. [3] Furthermore, the track marshals were wearing normal blazers and not the fire-resistant overalls which the drivers wore, and thus were not able to go near the large flames. Purley was later awarded the George Medal for the bravery he displayed in attempting to rescue Williamson. A series of photos of the incident, showing a clearly desperate and ultimately dejected Purley, won that year's World Press Photo award for Photo Sequences. Williamson's incinerated remains would later be cremated with his ashes being sent to an undisclosed area. In the years following the accident, fire-resistant clothing would become mandatory for all trackside marshals so that they would be able to assist in the event of a fire. The next few years also saw a noticeable increase in drivers stopping at accident sites to assist in rescue efforts, notably at the 1976 German Grand Prix. He was 25 years old at the time of his death.

1973 British Grand Prix Formula One motor race held in 1973

The 1973 British Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Silverstone on 14 July 1973. It was race 9 of 15 in both the 1973 World Championship of Drivers and the 1973 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers.

David Purley British racing driver

David Charles Purley, GM was a British racing driver born in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, who participated in 11 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting at Monaco in 1973.

George Medal British award

The George Medal (GM), instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI, is a decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, awarded for gallantry "not in the face of the enemy" where the services were not so outstanding as to merit the George Cross.

In 2003, on the thirtieth anniversary of his fatal crash, a bronze statue of Williamson was unveiled at the Donington Park circuit in his native Leicestershire. Then-owner Tom Wheatcroft had provided financial backing to Williamson, and described the day Williamson died as "the saddest day of my life". [4]

Donington Park race track

Donington Park is a motorsport circuit located near Castle Donington in Leicestershire, England. The circuit business is now owned by Jonathan Palmer's MotorSport Vision organisation, and the surrounding Donington Park Estate is currently under lease by MotorSport Vision until 2038.

Tom Wheatcroft British businessman

Frederick Bernard "Tom" Wheatcroft was an English businessman and car collector. He made his fortune through building and construction, and was known for resurrecting the Donington Park motor racing circuit and founding the Donington Grand Prix Collection museum.

Complete Formula One World Championship results

(key)

YearEntrantChassisEngine123456789101112131415WDCPts.
1973 STP March Racing Team March 731 Cosworth V8 ARG BRA RSA ESP BEL MON SWE FRA GBR
Ret
NED
Ret
GER AUT ITA CAN USA NC0

Non-Championship Formula One results

(key)

YearEntrantChassisEngine123456
1972 Roger Williamson Kitchmac (F5000) Chevrolet V8 ROC BRA INT OUL REP VIC
Ret

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References

  1. pitlane.gr
  2. silodrome.com - Roger Williamson
  3. "Roger Williamson Formula One Fatal Crash".
  4. "Roger Williamson biography". Anton Sukup. Retrieved 10 August 2011.

Books

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

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YouTube is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. Three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—created the service in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion; YouTube now operates as one of Google's subsidiaries.

Preceded by
Jo Siffert
Formula One fatal accidents
29 July 1973
Succeeded by
François Cevert
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dave Walker
British Formula 3 Championship
BRSCC North Central Lombard Series Champion

1971
Succeeded by
Rikky von Opel
Preceded by
Dave Walker
British Formula 3 Championship
BARC Series Champion

1972
Succeeded by
Ian Taylor
Preceded by
Dave Walker
British Formula 3 Championship
BRSCC Motorsport/Shell Series Champion

1972
Succeeded by
Tony Brise