Lowestoft dad was flung from go kart during practice race at Beccles, inquest hears

Ellough Park Raceway. Picture: ANGELA SHARPE

Ellough Park Raceway. Picture: ANGELA SHARPE - Credit: Archant � 2006

An inquest into the death of a grandfather who was involved in a karting accident near Beccles has heard that he died during a practice race.

Ellough Park Raceway near Beccles, where the accident happened. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Ellough Park Raceway near Beccles, where the accident happened. Picture: NICK BUTCHER - Credit: Nick Butcher

Allan Fairweather, 64, of Oulton Broad in Lowestoft, had been at the Ellough Park Raceway near Beccles on September 25 2016, where his family was celebrating his brother’s birthday.

The resumed inquest at Beacon House in Ipswich this morning – day one of a five day inquest with a jury – heard that Mr Fairweather had been involved in a practice race at the circuit, which allowed drivers to familiarise themselves with the karts and circuit layout before the main races.

CCTV footage played during the inquest showed Mr Fairweather slowing as he approached the chequered flag, which signals the end of the race, before the kart being driven by daughter-in-law Peggy Fairweather careered into the back of him.

The inquest saw that Mrs Fairweather had been completing an overtake on another driver, with her head turned towards the overtaken driver as she approached Mr Fairweather’s car.

She had turned her head back towards the front, with the jury told that the length of time between her turning her head as she completed the pass and the impact with Mr Fairweather was around two seconds.

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Mr Fairweather was thrown from his kart, prompting the marshal, Ben Davey, to throw the red flag, meaning all drivers should stop immediately.

The inquest heard that a phone call to emergency services was made by one of the marshals around 37 seconds after the impact.

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Evidence heard during the inquest revealed that all of the drivers that day had confirmed they did not have any health problems when they registered, and had watched a safety video by the National Karting Association prior to getting in the karts.

Further CCTV showed the race director Phil George giving a further briefing to the drivers, understood to be more circuit-specific than the video.

The jury was told that each driver was belted up into their go karts one-by-one, with everyone wearing the correct helmets, fire-proof balaclavas, gloves and overalls.

Giving evidence, Waveney District Council’s environmental health officer Tony Burgess said that he had been to the circuit and sat in a kart on track as part of his investigation, and confirmed that a driver coming out of the final corner could see both a kart on the start/finish line and the chequered flag being waved.

He confirmed that the helmets provided a full range of vision.

Reading details from the post mortem examination carried out at James Paget Hospital in Norfolk, Suffolk assistant coroner Dr Dan Sharpstone said that the cause of death given had been traumatic chest injury, and added that the post mortem also found a fractured sternum and ribs.

Question marks were also raised from the post mortem as to whether Mr Fairweather had impacted with the steering wheel, which can cause the heart to stop.

The inquest continues.

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