Blast from the past: Neymar hat-trick sends Bafana to heaviest defeat

Today in SA sport history: March 5

04 March 2024 - 21:36

1977 — Welsh driver Tom Pryce and a teenage fire marshal are killed in a freak accident during the SA Grand Prix at Kyalami. Pryce’s Shadow teammate, Renzo Zorzi, had stopped on the outside of the track opposite the marshal’s post and his car caught fire. He jumped out safely and even activated the car’s own fire extinguishing system. Two marshals, however, ran across the track to assist. The first got there safely, but Frederick “Frikkie” Jansen van Vuuren, a 19-year-old clerk at Jan Smuts Airport, as OR Tambo was then known, was struck by Pryce, who was travelling at about 270km/h, and the extinguisher he was carrying hit the driver in the head. Pryce’s helmet disintegrated in the crash and spectators saw his head slumped sideways and blood spurting from the cockpit. Both men were killed instantly. Pryce’s car, however, continued down the straight for about one kilometre before crashing into the Ligier driven by Frenchman Jacques Lafitte at Crowthorne Corner. Marshals were later instructed to keep curious fans away from the scene of the accident after some had been spotted taking pieces of wreckage, presumably as macabre souvenirs. The fire extinguisher, which flew upwards after the impact, was later found in a car park about 100m away. Niki Lauda, who himself had survived a devastating crash the previous year, won the race ahead of SA’s Jody Scheckter, who moved to the top of the championship standings. Lauda, out of respect for Pryce, declined to perform the usual celebratory gesture of spraying champagne. Pryce, 27, was the 55th driver to have been killed in grand prix racing in just 13 years. Local race organisers were blamed for lack of adequate protocols, which included not having marshals on both sides of the track, and Britain’s reigning world champion James Hunt, who had finished fourth, suggested a team of trained marshals travel with the F1 circus to ensure a high standard of safety at each race around the world...

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