Mechanical fault led to racer's death

AN Ipswich stock car driver was killed when he ploughed into a fence after a mechanical fault caused his vehicle to accelerate uncontrollably, an inquest has heard.

AN Ipswich stock car driver was killed when he ploughed into a fence after a mechanical fault caused his vehicle to accelerate uncontrollably, an inquest has heard.

Steve Spink, of Kemball Street, died on May 29, shortly after the accident, which happened during the second heat of a race meeting at the Great Yarmouth Stadium as his wife Mo and daughter Linsey watched.

The inquest at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court, which recorded a verdict of accidental death, heard how the 46-year-old had been in “high spirits” after the first race where he had finished second in front of the 1,500 crowd.

However, on the tenth lap of the second heat, Mr Spink's V8 car failed to negotiate a left-hand turn and mounted the kerb before striking the metal crash barrier at a speeds approaching 60mph.

A pathologist's report revealed Mr Spink had suffered serious injury at the top of his spinal chord following the impact.

It emerged that Mr Spink's car had been properly checked prior to the race and had been found to be in immaculate condition.

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However, an inspection of the car after the crash revealed that the throttle cable had frayed, preventing the carburettor from fully closing and causing the car to accelerate rapidly.

Expert witnesses told the inquest it was reasonable to believe the problem developed during the race.

Fellow stock car drivers and enthusiasts also gave evidence, telling how Mr Spink had been held in high regard both on and off the track and speaking of his attention to detail when it came to safety.

James Gregory, the stadium commentator on the night, said: “I had seen Steve race many times and he was good.

“He had always been successful and V8 racing was his best formula.”

Coroner Nicholas Holroyd described Mr Spink as an experienced driver who maintained his car with extreme care and had enjoyed much success.

He continued: “He had many friends and was well liked in the stock car world.

“He had come to Great Yarmouth to race that night and was ahead when the significant impact took place. His head came forward and it caused his tragic death.

“The cable had frayed and as a result, the carburettor remained open. His breaks were not strong enough to deal with the emergency.

“The reason for the fraying is a mystery, but it's likely it took place during the race.”

N If you would like to pay tribute to Mr Spink write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Speaking to The Evening Star immediately after the accident, Mr Spink's wife Mo and daughter Linsey revealed how they watched the tragedy unfold from the stands - and told how they would miss the “kind and funny” man who they loved to see race.

Mrs Spink, his wife of 23 years, said: “I remember kissing him before he went off to race. I just said a casual 'see you later' but I always gave him a kiss.

“I went to almost every one of his races and the family loved going to watch him.”

Mr Spink, who ran his own plumbing business - Pipetech Plumping - had raced stock cars for 15 years, following in the footsteps of his father.

He had never been seriously hurt in a crash preciously.

His daughter Linsey said: “We are a close family and loved him very much. He was kind and would do anything for anyone.

“He was funny, always cracking jokes and a bit of a wind-up merchant.”

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