MSV fined following fatal accident at Oulton Park track day in 2013

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Motorsport Vision Ltd (MSV) have been fined £158,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £250,000 following a fatal accident on an Oulton Park track day in 2013.

The company, who operate various tracks also including Brands Hatch, Donington Park, and Snetterton, pleaded guilty to a single count of acting contrary to Regulation 3(1)(b) of the management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The case came following the death of motorcyclist Michael Carson, who was involved in an accident at Hill Top on October 5, 2013. Four others were also hurt, two of which sustained life-changing injuries.

MSV accepted they failed to suitably, and sufficiently, assess the risks to riders at this section of the circuit, following the removal of a marshal at that location.

Honda Fireblade on track at Oulton Park

Councillor Karen Shore, deputy leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “This case highlights the actions our Regulatory Services team can take to ensure the highest standards of safety are observed at events across our borough.

“The results of those safety standards not being observed are all too clear in this tragic case, that resulted in significant injuries whilst participating in a motor sport event. 

“Our thoughts are with the family of Michael Carson and the other riders that were involved in two separate accidents that should have been preventable.” 

During the investigation a similar incident in May 2013 came to light.  CCTV footage showed that Stephen Horton’s motorcycle was struck from behind causing him to fall from his machine in the rundown from Hill Top.

As was the case with Mr Carson he was also exposed to the risk of serious injury as were those riders who followed. On this occasion Mr Horton was not struck but it should have highlighted the risks created by a lack of marshals at the location. 

MSV said: “We are constantly reviewing our operational and safety procedures and ensure that these evolve in line with advances in technology.

Oulton Park pitlane

“Similarly we seek to learn from any incidents that inevitably do take place on circuit to determine if changes are required. It is a matter of deep regret that on this occasion in May 2013 that opportunity was missed.

“We have learned from this and continue to strive to offer the safest possible venues for the enjoyment of all motorsport activities.” 

The prosecution’s case was that had a marshal been stationed at that post they could have instantly responded to a downed rider by waving a warning flag to alert following riders. 

CCTV cameras were in place, and a system of safety lights, but neither of these systems were adequate when operated together to properly manage the risks at Hill Top.

The CCTV system had a blind spot such that the control tower was unable to see a downed rider and the lighting system was too far away from the Hill Top location, meaning that riders may have already passed it by the time it was illuminated. 

Following the fatal crash MSV installed a marshal at Hill Top, installed a light panel and added two CCTV cameras at the location.

Additionally, the Marshal boxes at Knickerbrook and Brittens were improved to provide better vision and sight lines and individual marshals were given control over red lights course-wide. 

Stuart Prestidge

By Stuart Prestidge