CAMS slams fatal Racewars event

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
**ONLINE OUT** The site of the crash Sunday afternoon.
Camera Icon**ONLINE OUT** The site of the crash Sunday afternoon. Credit: Laurie Benson/Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

The head of Australia’s peak motorsport body has given a scathing review of the event which led to Brody Ford’s death at Racewars this year.

Confederation of Australian Motor Sport chief executive Eugene Arocca said he believed organisers were unprepared for the event at Albany Regional Airport.

Mr Ford, 26, died after Racewars in March where he competing in the 1000m “Vmax” speed trial, which organisers promoted as the only one of its kind in Australia.

The Shelby GT500 he was driving left the runway, broke through a fence and caught fire.

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One competitor had earlier exceeded 350km/h in the event.

Mr Arocca said his group had refused to support Racewars because no Australian venue could safely host a 1km drag race.

“It’s just setting up for an accident,” he said.

“(Racewars) did apparently seek sanctioning from CAMS in the past and we flatly refused.”

Mr Arocca has assisted the coroner’s inquiry into Mr Ford’s death, which is ongoing.

This week, Racewars defended its safety online and declared it was facing insolvency.

It asked for City of Albany and commercial partner support to keep the event running.

“(Our) safety standards are among the best across any grassroots motorsport event,” it said on Facebook.

“We continue to benchmark ourselves against other events nationally and internationally and will continue to work to deliver the biggest, best and safest runway racing event in Australia.”

The City of Albany council will next week receive a 2019 Racewars report, which includes a recommendation to request a business plan for the 2020 event.

It also recommends council consider developing an arrester bed at the runway to mitigate the risk from drag racing over-runs.

Mr Arocca said the proposal showed a lack of understanding.

“To think a sand trap will be the solution to all the issues that arise from allowing cars to run at that speed in those circumstances is naive,” he said.

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the City would not pay Racewars’ debts.

“It has been a great event for Albany and we’d like to see it continue, but that won’t be at any cost,” he said.

Racewars event director Jon Murray said many key office holders within his team were “qualified and active senior CAMS officials”.

“Racewars welcomes the wealth of experience and expertise that they bring to our event,” Mr Murray said.

“Racewars also has an ongoing dialogue with specialists and key personnel within CAMS and other bodies with the view to ensuring Racewars continues to operate to a standard in line with or surpassing the requirements set by CAMS for grassroots-style events.”

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