Lest we forget that…

our passion, our amusement, our need for speed has a dangerous and tragic side, we were again reminded this afternoon that in a blink of an eye it can all go so horribly wrong.

1964 Formula 1 world champion John Surtees raced and survived during the most dangerous times in open wheel only to watch his son Henry die in a freak accident at the tragically young age of 18 years of age this afternoon at Brands Hatch.

For those unaware, Henry was competing in the 2nd of two F2 races at Brands Hatch when an errant tire from Jack Clark’s car (who went off track moments before) shot across the track and struck him in the head at full speed. Instantly unconscious, he then careened full throttle into the tire barrier. It happens very fast and looks almost innocuous.

If there is any silver lining, it’s that he hopefully didn’t feel anything or was even aware of what happened.

“he died doing what he loved” is of little comfort I’m sure to those who knew and loved him.

We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance. ~Marcel Proust

Rest in peace Henry.

Thoughts and prayers to the Surtees family.

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4 responses to “Lest we forget that…

  1. Wonderful choice of quotation there. And the irony of it being the son of someone who survived the dangerous era…

  2. The quote is perfect in it’s addressing of the reality. We are not guaranteed any further moments.

    Tomorrow would be my son’s 18th birthday, but he went home to the Lord 3 weeks before his fourth birthday.

    On a day that seemed perfectly normal in 1999, I suffered a head injury at a race meet in Willow Springs while working there, due to of all things, the wind. Woke up in ICU a few days later. No recall of the incident itself. According to the people who saw it, it was a matter of inches between it turning out the way it did rather than in my own death.

    For this young man, suddenly ushered into the eternal, I’m thankful that he very likely didn’t feel anything at all.

    We stand on the threshold many times during our lives, looking where our loved ones have left us. We are much more than the sum of our parts, and it’s prudent to take an account of the unseen aspects now, while we are able.

    My condolences to the Surtees family. It isn’t ever easy to deal with this type of loss.

  3. I just saw the news on Wind Tunnel. So sad. 😦

  4. As hardend as I’ve become, this incident moved me to tears; what can you say?

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