This weekend is one of auto racing’s premier races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans…….this was one of the races I got to see first hand when I was a youngster…the sounds, smells and sights were something I will never forget.
I bring this up because one of the worse accidents in racing happened at Le Mans in 1955……
Fifty-nine years ago, the 1955 Le Mans 24-hour race started like any other. It ended with the usual champagne, as well. In the middle as many as 130 died in the most horrific disaster in motorsports history. [Warning: graphic content]
It’s hard to say just how many people died in the crash. The French police files have never been opened, and one long time Le Mans racing chief later estimated the death toll at 130. Within hours of the crash, the local police reported sixty five dead, as one racer remembered, and now the death toll is usually reported as something in the 80s. An initial news report claims 82 spectators killed, some decapitated by a flying hood “like a guillotine.” Another 120 were “maimed,” according to current writing, though initial news stories estimated around 70. All of this was from one car cutting through the crowd alone.
It remains the worst disaster in motorsports history.
I’ll try and give an explanation of how it happened, why so many people died, and why the organizers didn’t cancel the race after the crash.
I will be switching between the race and the Women’s World Cup….I do not like too many sports but I do appreciate the beauty of football (soccer to Americans)
I hope everyone has a good day I know I will…..