Sunday 16 May 1999, Northampton, Graham Hill Trophy

The Graham Hill Memorial Final on May 16th was stopped on lap 12 when Gary Bonner's car collided with the armco after a collision with Gary Jones as they battled for 5th place. The impact was so hard that Gary had to be cut from the car and rushed to hospital. It was the worst accident for 15 years and one we hope to never see repeated.

The incident happened just two laps after almost simultaneous collisions on opposing sides of the circuit between race leader Jon Hannah and second placed Gordon Pooley on the pit straight and lower placed Andy Collins and Andrew Hinch on the start finish straight. The race was brought under caution with Richard Loseby the new leader from Steve Piggins, Stuart Haynes, Gary Jones, 'Rob Sayeil and Gary Bonner. Sayell overtook Jones for 4th place on the pit straight, the collision between Gary Bonner & Gary Jones occurring on the next bend. The remaining 8 laps were aborted and Loseby declared the winner of the Graham Hill Memorial Trophy, from Steve Piggins, Stuart Haynes, Rob Sayell, Andrew Bilby and John Salter

The earlier heats had been won by Gordion Pooley. Heat One was also full of incident with Brian Gough's car sustaining severe damage in a head on collision with the armco after jumping a wheel on John Bilby's spun car. (Brian was thankfully unhurt.) Haynes and newcomer Doug Crook spinning out in the same incident. Loseby finished second and Piggins third.

Heat two saw newcomer Hannah lead for 14 laps only to be demoted in rapid succession on the final two laps by Pooley, Piggins and Sayell but resisting Haynes for 4th. Pooley ahead by only a nose on the line from Piggins with Sayell 3rd.

Gary suffered concussion, cracked ribs and a chipped shoulder bone, his car was launched high in the air the roll cage taking virtually all of the impact on landing into the barrier. The Club was thankful that roll cage improvements implemented, as part of a technical spec. review on cages 3 years earlier, appeared to have prevented even worse injury. Gary was allowed home 5 days after the accident and is now making good progress - and he plans to race again this year just as soon as he is fully fit and the car repaired.

Gary's family has asked us to publicly thank the staff at Northampton Raceway and everyone else involved in the rescue operation to yet him out of the car and to hospital. Their very prompt and efficient action saved Gary from far worse injuries

We would like to also mention Gordon Pooley who went onto the circuit at the promoter's request to talk to Gary whilst he was trapped in the car quite a gutsy thing to do. Similarly Eddie Ricketts who accompanied Gary's dad Mick to the hospital in the ambulance also no easy task in the circumstances. Well done to everyone who rallied round on the day.

Motorsport News

SUNDAY'S Grand Prix Midget Final at Northampton had to be stopped after Gary Bonners car rammed the barrier following a collision with Gary Jones. The impact was so hard that the injured Bonner had to be cut from the car and taken to hospital, His condition was later sad to be stable.

The incident happened just two laps after almost simultaneous collisions on opposing sides of the circuit between race leader Jon Hannah and second-placed Gordon Pooley on the pit straight and lower-placed Andy Collins and Andrew Hinch on the start-finish straight. With the race brought under caution Richard-Loseby led from Steve Piggins, Stuart Haynes, Jones, Rob Sayell and Bonner. Sayell overtook Jones for 4th place on the pit straight, before the collision between Bonner and Jones occurred on the next bend. The remaining eight laps were aborted and Loseby was declared the winner of the Graham Hill Memorial Trophy from Piggins and Haynes.

The earlier heats had both been won by Pooley. Heat one was also full of incident with Brian Gough's car sustaining severe damage in a head-on collision with the barriers, Loseby finished second and Piggins third, Newcomer Hannah led Heat Two for 14 laps only to be demoted in rapid succession on the final two laps by Pooley, Piggins and Sayell.

Heat one: 1st 33 Gordon Pooley, 2nd 38 Richard Loseby, 3rd 11 Steve Piggins, 4th 72 Gary Jones, 5th 16 Andrew Bilby, 6th 27 Gary Bonner

Heat two: 1st 33 Gordon Pooley, 2nd 11 Steve Piggins, 3rd 10 Rob Sayell, 4th 22 Jon Hannah, 5th 19 Stuart Haynes, 6th 72 Gary Jones

Final (Graham Hill Trophy): 1st 38 Richard Loseby, 2nd 11 Steve Piggins, 3rd 19 Stuart Haynes, 4th 10 Rob Sayell, 5th 16 Andrew Bilby, 6th 41 John Salter