Race ace pledges he will carry on driving after track death

PUBLISHED: 16:15 29 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:48 16 August 2010

A MOTORSPORT team driver hopes recent high-profile accidents will lead to increased safety for competitors. Jonny Adam, 22, of

A MOTORSPORT team driver hopes recent high-profile accidents will lead to increased safety for competitors.

Jonny Adam, 22, of Wrotham-based Airwaves BMW, says that, although the sport comes with inherent dangers and is relatively safe, he supports calls to improve safety.

On Saturday, Ferrari Formula One (F1) driver Felipe Massa was hit on the head by a flying spring which had come off a competitor's vehicle. He suffered a fractured skull and was this week recovering.

It came just six days after Bromley-born legend John Surtees' son Henry, 18, died after being struck on the head by a loose wheel during an F2 race at Brands Hatch, in West Kingsdown.

During the race where Massa picked up his injury, another competitor lost a wheel and only good fortune saw it avoid his rivals.

Mr Adam, a British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) speedster, said: "The only positive point about incidents like these is that they will lead to increased safety next year.

"It is a sport that comes with dangers. We all know that, but we are doing something we love on a daily basis.

"They really are two tragic events but the Airwaves BMW is a solidly constructed car with roll cages and all sorts of safety features."

Both Massa and Surtees were driving open wheel cars in which their heads are not covered by any part of the vehicle.

Surtees took the full impact of the collision with the wheel when travelling in excess of 100mph. Massa was approaching 175mph.

Both drivers were instantly concussed and crashed into protective barriers as they left the track. In both instances the secondary impact would have caused no harm.

In the wake of both tragedies there have been calls for drivers' heads to be covered but it is also argued this will make it harder to access injured drivers.

Mr Adam said that the eerily common freak accidents will not deter him or any of his rivals when he takes to the track on Sunday.

The Scotsman feels that to be his best at Snetterton circuit after a six-week break it would be foolish and possibly unsafe to dwell on such things. He said: "You can't think about things like that at all. You have to be 100 per cent focused on the race ahead.

"The BTCC is renowned for contact but with such a classy and experienced field there is no one out there who is dangerous or reckless. Some of the driving is aggressive but it is all in a controlled manner."

The north Kent outfit are performing exceptionally this season and sit third in the overall standings. It is only their second season in the competition and with every race the BMWs seem to improve.

Mr Adam and his team-mate, Rob Collard, have notched up podium finishes on a regular basis. In the second half of the campaign he is aiming for a race win. "The car is a brilliant bit of kit and it is fully capable of challenging the teams at the top of the rankings," he added.

* THE funeral of Henry Surtees is due to take place today at Worth Abbey, West Sussex. Any donations will be forwarded to brain injury charity Headway. Cheques should be made payable to Headway and sent to Sharon Bowness at John Surtees Ltd, Monza House, Fircroft Way, Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 6EJ.

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