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Roger Williamson: 1948 – 1973

Roger Williamson: 1948 – 1973

Roger Williamson died on this day in 1973 at the tender age of 25.

Roger had been participating in the Dutch Grand Prix held at the Zaandvort circuit as a rookie who was gaining experience in a borrowed March 731. He was hoping to be able to get a full drive for the next season in 1974.

Unfortunately, on lap eight he ran wide going through the sweeping section called Hondenvlok and caught the guard rail. His car was flipped over and continued to slide down the track for another 80 yards before coming to a rest. The car ignited and was soon engulfed in flames.

David Purley, a fellow colleague and competitor in the race stopped his car to see if he could help. He tried to correct the car back onto its wheels, but had no luck. He also grabbed a fire extinguisher from one of the marshalls, but it was not enough. Despite David’s brave and admirable efforts, Roger Williamson passed away at the scene. Much to the utter outrage of Purley, he forcibly pushed a commiserating marshall away.

This tragic event is often overlooked, with the sad loss of Ayrten Senna and Roland Ratzenberger etched in our more recent memory of Formula One. But it serves as a reminder to the never-ending need to continue improving safety in one of the most dangerous – yet exhilirating – sports in the world.

Oliver White

1 comment

  • As a very young boy I know Roger, I lived two doors away on Humberstone Rd, read somewhere on the net he had a sister, sorry can’t remember her. His mother was always nice to me, considering I was a scruffy street kid, must have seen my first TV in their flat? above the cafe, she ran. Don’t recall his dad much was he an american or a cockney??

    But what I discovered today was that Roger was born 02/02/1948 and me 02/02/1947, did’ent know we shared the same birthday.

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