Racer killed in stock car tragedy

INVESTIGATORS believe a mechanical fault may have caused an horrific stock car crash which killed one of East Anglia's top drivers.Father-of-one Steve Spink, from Ipswich, died after losing control of his vehicle and smashing into a barrier during a race in front of 1,500 spectators – including his family – at Yarmouth Stadium on Sunday night.

INVESTIGATORS believe a mechanical fault may have caused an horrific stock car crash which killed one of East Anglia's top drivers.

Father-of-one Steve Spink, from Ipswich, died after losing control of his vehicle and smashing into a barrier during a race in front of 1,500 spectators - including his family - at Yarmouth Stadium on Sunday night.

It is believed the throttle cable on the 46-year-old's V8 car became jammed open as he led the 16-lap race.

Mr Spink, who was married with a daughter, was cut free from the wreckage by fire crews using hydraulic equipment and taken by ambulance to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, but he could not be saved.

Last night, tributes poured in for the self-employed plumber, who was described as an experienced and accomplished racing driver.

Roy Eaton, managing director of the event organiser Spedeworth International, said Mr Spink's death would be a "huge loss".

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He said: "Steve has been racing for Spedeworth for some 18 years in different formulas and is a very accomplished driver. Steve has raced at the Yarmouth circuit regularly throughout his racing career and was therefore very familiar with the track.

"He was leading the race by over half a lap. We believe that his throttle cable became jammed open, and that his car skidded into a fence post."

Mr Eaton said no other cars were involved and no-one else was injured.

He added: "At present all we can say is that we are shocked and immensely upset, and our hearts are with his family and friends.

"We extend our thanks to the emergency services and to all the officials at the track who acted quickly and with sensitivity and great professionalism during the incident. Steve's death is a huge loss to Oval Racing and to Spedeworth."

Last night, Norfolk police urged any spectators who may have filmed the crash to come forward as it may help the investigation.

Insp Stuart Offord, head of Eastern Area Road Policing, said: "This is a tragic incident, particularly as members of the victim's family were present. In order to piece together exactly what happened we are appealing to anyone who may have been filming the race to contact us."

He said police were working with the Environmental Health Department of Great Yarmouth Borough Council to find the cause of the accident and have taken the car for a full inspection.

He added: "It is thought that a mechanical fault may have contributed to the collision but other potential causes have not yet been fully eliminated.''

Mr Spink's death is not the first fatal incident at the racetrack. In October 2000 Peter Clark from Acle died while stock car racing. The 57-year-old died from natural causes after collapsing at the wheel during a race at the stadium, where he worked part-time.

Yesterday nobody from Yarmouth Stadium was available for comment.

n Anyone with any pictures or video footage of the Mr Spink's crash is asked to contact Norfolk police on 0845 456 4567.

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