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Offline AshSimmonds

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With today's events going on I was googling a bit and came upon some more information that I hadn't before about the 1994 Cannonball Run event.

http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3378

Quote
Complete name: Keith Alan Pritchard
Birth date: 12.Jul.1962
Birth Place: Geraldton, WA, Australia
Death date: 24.May.1994
Death Place: near Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
Nationality: Australia
Gender: male
Age at death: 31
 
Accident date: 24.May.1994
Series: unknown
Race: Northern Territory Cannonball Run
Event: unknown
Country: Australia
Venue: Cannonball
Variant: 1994
 
Role: track official
Vehicle type: car
Vehicle sub-type: touring car
Vehicle brand/model: Ferrari F40
Vehicle number: 27
 

Note:
The Northern Territory Cannonball Run was held from 22 May to the 27 in 1994 on the Stuart Highway from Darwin to Alice Springs and return, a distance of nearly 1600 kms, and attracted 118 racing enthusiasts from all over the world with their expensive machines. The race contained three distinct driving phases within the one event. These were the "flying miles", the timed sectors and, covering by far the greatest distance, normal, everyday driving during which there was no competitive element. The "flying miles" were a test of a car's acceleration with cars cross the starting line at 60 km/h and 1600 m later their speed was recorded by radar, with points awarded accordingly. The timed sections of the run were approximately 100 km stretches to which set times was applied. Cannonballers lost points on these sections by arriving either too late or too early by more than three minutes. While these sections of the run were happening, the road was open to regular traffic, although police swept the road ahead, side roads were manned and the travelling public and commercial vehicles were warned. During these sections, as throughout the run, Cannonball drivers were subject to the same laws as anyone else. It is to be pointed out, though, that in the Northern Territory doesn't exist a specified speed limit on the open road.

On 24 May, during one of the timed sections near Alice Springs, a Ferrari F40 crashed into a checkpost killing its occupants, the Japanese duo Akihiro Kabe and codriver Okano (first name unknown) and two track officials, Tim Linklater and Keith Pritchard. An inquest found that the direct cause of the accident was driver error on the part of the Japanese team which entered the checkpoint at an excessive speed. There was a reasonable inference that the driver mistakenly believed he had arrived at the checkpoint when 7 km short of the actual checkpoint, and then sped up to make up for lost time. Another factor may have been the lack of racing skills of the driver, promoters refused an assessment of skill prior to the race and allowed everybody to take part to the race regardless of driver's experience. Although Akihiro Kabe had driven before on rent racetracks he was unexperienced as a racing driver and several commented on his lack of driving skills while he was practicing at Hidden Valley before the race. According to some sources one of the persorns concerned by that was ironically Keith Pritchard, one of the killed officials.

The tragedy caused criticisms in Australia and the case was discussed by the parliament. The race was never repeated and a memorial was erected in the place of the accident.
 
Sources:
Newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, issue unknown. [R]
Website Atlas F1, bulletin boards, "The Nostalgia Forum", thread "Speed's Ultimate Price: The Toll", page 47, post by Piet Ra, page http://forums.atlasf1.com/showthread.php?postid=1966029#post1966029
Website The Moscow Times, article 4 "Dead in Race Crash", page http://web.themoscowtimes.com/stories/1994/05/25/040.html
Website Netsaga.is, by Olaf Thor Eiriksson, page http://www.netsaga.is/Forsida/Englishversion/Mystories/ChanceorFate/view.aspx?.
Website Australian Government, Parliamentary Records, page http://notes.nt.gov.au/lant/hansard/HANSARD7.NSF/0/0682bcb14ea202ec482561b800310785?OpenDocument
Website Plate Shed, forum Plate Shed Forums -> Australian Plate Forum -> Plate of The Week, thread "NT Cannonball Run Plates, Plate of the week #8", pages http://www.plateshed.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=1097&view=new, http://www.plateshed.com/sigphotos/fyer.jpg, http://www.plateshed.com/sigphotos/compet.jpg
E-mail by Piet Ram, dated 25 October 2005, citing source [R] above.
E-mail by Gerald Hayward Pritchard, dated 14 September 2007.

And a couple notes from folks who were apparently there:
http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/garyhughes/index.php/theaustralian/comments/cannonball_rolling_on

Quote
There a number of factors that contributed to the crash. Inexperience and speed were not among them. Evidence given by police at the inquest found that the Ferrari F40 with the dentists on board was travelling behind a white Commodore (the driver of which came in for criticism for pretending to be in the run) that obsured the view of the road ahead. You can appreciate that the F40 is a very low height car. There was a bend and a checkpoint positioned just after it. The driver of the F40 noticed the checkpoint at the last minute and turned to enter the freshly laid loose gravel slip lane only to lose control on the loose surface. The police said that the speed at the time of the accident was no more than 80km/h.

Quote
It was actually due to the driver and co drive not following the rules. My Uncle and Dad were both in the race and were in second position behind the driver on the day. The rules are that you can go as fast as you want but on approaching a checkpoint the speed drops down to 100km/h then 80km/h and finally 60km/h each car has all the information on when and where to slow down so if the co driver and driver were paying attention to what they were doing they would have been doing the right speed on approach to the checkpoint and would have seen it coming.

Oh and here's the pic of the F40. (later on I'll dig up the pics of the memorial)

Image



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Offline AshSimmonds

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From http://www.cannonballrun.info/parliament.htm

Quote
What was said before, and what was said after.

The following is an extract from a Parliamentary sitting. It was held on the 10th of May 1994, 10 days before the Cannonball Run took place... As you read this you may say to yourself, "Why didn't anyone listen" The simple fact is, there were only 10 days to go, rules can't be changed with only 10 days notice.

The following will help understand why the race was even considered to be held in the Northern Territory. If parliamentarians do these sort of speeds, why would they have speed limits?

Quote
Mr PARISH: Before honourable members get their knickers in a twist about it, opposition members strongly support the concept of the Cannonball Run, but I believe that Ayrton Senna's death illustrates just what a dangerous game motor racing is and how quickly something can happen that results in death. Despite the fact that this man was probably without peer in terms of his skills, his reflexes and his experience in handling a car at speed and despite the fact that he was operating on a track where all the vehicles were travelling in the same direction, a track that had wide verges and sand run-off areas etc to slow the cars down, nevertheless death overtook him in a split second.

Like the AANT, (This is a breakdown service in the Northern Territory) I have concerns about the Cannonball Run. I believe greater efforts need to be made to ensure the safety of the event. I am aware that a great deal of effort has been put into it. Hopefully everything will go well, but factors, such as the approach speeds of vehicles on public roads where, except for the controlled speed sections, the road will remain open to general traffic, and the closing speeds of vehicles travelling both in the same direction and when overtaking and in opposite directions, in my view pose considerable dangers not only for the drivers in the race but for innocent road users. Many pensioners ...


Quote
Mr Reed: I was doing 170 km/h when I was coming to Darwin the other day, and I was overtaken!

Quote
Mr PARISH: That is true. However, there are many pensioners who travel up the highway with their caravans or their campervans at 70 km/h or 80 km/h and they are not necessarily expecting a car to be closing on them at the rate of 250 km/h.


Quote
Mr Bell: You were doing 170 km/h between Katherine and here?


Quote
Mr Reed: I do it regularly. Come with me some time.


Quote
Mr PARISH: The trouble is that it may well be that people like the member for Katherine and myself ...


Quote
Mr Reed: And I was overtaken.


Quote
Mr PARISH: Mr Speaker, at the risk of horrifying the member for MacDonnell, I must confess that I too drive between here and Katherine at those kinds of speeds. However, people like the member for Katherine, myself and the Leader of the Opposition, who travels at similar speeds, are experienced in driving on country roads. We know the dangers. We know that these are unfenced roads and that there is a danger of wandering stock. We know that you have to drive well ahead of yourself mentally in order to cope with the situation. Many of the participants in the Cannonball Run will be people who have never had their Porsches or their Ferraris out of second gear. All their driving experience will have been on roads that have a speed limit of 100 km/h. Even if you fancy yourself as a good driver, if you do not have long experience of driving on the open road at high speeds, you do not realise how quickly things can happen. You do not realise how far ahead of yourself you have to drive and you do not realise how long it takes to stop from a high speed.

I understand that there are no requirements that any of the drivers in this event must hold a CAMS licence or must have undertaken advanced driver training. I would not suggest that they should be required to hold a CAMS licence because that would be unduly bureaucratic, but I would like to see some stronger mandatory requirement for advanced driver training, both in general advanced driving and also in terms of a specific education program for the drivers in the hazards of driving on open Territory roads. If that does not happen, there is a danger that all of the great publicity and the great potential tourist attraction that the Cannonball Run can generate for the Northern Territory could be lost through a horrific accident. Clearly, that is something we all want to avoid and we all want to do everything in our power to ensure that that does not happen. I urge members opposite and those involved in the organisation of the run to have another look at the safety aspects and the driver training aspects for this event because the death of Ayrton Senna illustrates just how dangerous high-speed racing driving can be.


Quote
If only someone had listened to this man.... we might have had many more Cannonball Run events

What were the costs to the Northern Territory government of staging the 1994 Cannonball Run?

This was asked in Parliament June 30th 1994


Quote
Mr Speaker, I undertook recently to provide this information and I believe this is an appropriate opportunity. The Cannonball Run attracted 118 entries. There were approximately 340 visitors to the Territory, including drivers, crew, support and media personnel, and the staff of the organisers. If one includes the officials and volunteers from the Northern Territory, a total of about 600 people were involved directly in the event. As members would appreciate, organising and conducting such an event is an enormous and expensive exercise involving meticulous attention to detail. Despite the tragic accident that occurred, overall it was a well-organised and well-conducted event with the Territory receiving extensive media coverage. Some 90 media representatives were accredited to cover the event.

The Territory government contributed both financial and in-kind support to facilitate the Cannonball Run. Direct financial support included commissioning a feasibility study, the marketing and promotion of tour packages by the Tourist Commission, the provision of number plates, the provision of protective clothing for government officials, overtime, accommodation and travel allowance for police and government officials and the provision of telephone and fax facilities. The total direct costs are estimated at $203 939.

Mr Speaker, I table a breakdown of those expenses for the information of members. In-kind assistance provided by police and other public servants was their on-the-job time, the provision of vehicles, accelerated road maintenance and grass slashing, the use of venues such as the Wharf Precinct and the warehouse space at the TDZ, and reusable equipment such as barricades and traffic control signs. Obviously, community benefits remain after the event from items such as road maintenance, grass clearing and reusable equipment. The overwhelming community support for the Cannonball Run resulted in hundreds of voluntary man hours being contributed by Territorians from all walks of life, including many public servants, particularly public servants from the Department of Transport and Works.



Quote
The government supported the Cannonball Run for the promotional benefits to the Territory, just as we support the World Solar Challenge and other states support major motor sports events within their borders. I propose to make a more comprehensive statement on the Cannonball Run when more information is available and consultations have been held with a number of people. However, as a result of media inquiries before the Cannonball Run was conducted, I undertook to release information about the costs when they were available after the event. I have taken this opportunity to do that.
 

13th of October 1994

The Chief Minister has been totally exposed for his conflicting statements about the Cannonball Run. Members will recall that the Chief Minister and members opposite stated, in Australia at least, that the Cannonball Run was a run and not a race. It has now been revealed that the Chief Minister was personally promoting the event in Japan as "one of the great car races of all time". How does the Chief Minister explain his behaviour in this matter, and does he accept that his promotion of the event as a race placed the lives of ordinary road users in the Northern Territory at risk and led to the tragedy that occurred?
 




Offline AshSimmonds

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Offline 265T


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i remember there was video footage of the accident happening taken from a helicopter above, at the time they printed a pic of the car in a slide in the newspapers, i saved it & it's probably at my parents - god knows where tho  :rolleyes:

anyone ever seen the vid or have a copy of the pic?



Offline mhh

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i remember there was video footage of the accident happening taken from a helicopter above, at the time they printed a pic of the car in a slide in the newspapers, i saved it & it's probably at my parents - god knows where tho  :rolleyes:

anyone ever seen the vid or have a copy of the pic?

I remember the pic of the car coming sideways at the guys as they were jumping (unsuccessfully) from their deck chairs.  It was a chilling pic.  It was in the Advertiser and never seen again.   I've googled for the pic without success.  Never seen the vid though...

Edit:  I'll see if I can find the pic at the State Library.  I suspect it never appeared again out of respect to the families of the deceased.  It clearly shows the 2 men a split second before the smash.



Offline AshSimmonds

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http://www.cannonballrun.info/raceday.htm

Quote
Car 27: Ferrari F40

These two participants were the dentists from Japan that paid the ultimate price for their passion, and arguably a lack in safety from race organisers.

Driver: Akihiro Kabe

Navigator: Takeshi Okano

Rest in Peace boys....

Image

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Offline 265T


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http://www.cannonballrun.info/media.htm

Quote
May 24th 1994: The death of two dentists & two officials were shown on the news later that evening. The view was from the air as a chopper was flying overhead. It showed the Ferrari loosing control as the car hit the pea gravel on the side of the road, how it slid sideways, and then appeared to gain control, over corrected, and slid into the van the two officials had just ran to. This news segment was not aired again.

my memory is correct  :)



Offline AshSimmonds

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Offline AshSimmonds

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