Racer had fixing lethal roll-bar ‘on his to-do list’

Denis Welch died aged 69 at Silverstone
Denis Welch died aged 69 at Silverstone
  • Father-of-two Denis Welch died from head injuries at Silverstone
  • His wife Tina was watching from the stands when his Lotus rolled over
  • An inquest heard how Mr Welch planned to strengthen the safety roll-bar which collapsed

A racing driver who planned to replace his car’s safety bar died because it collapsed before he had chance to do so.

Father-of-two Denis Welch, 69, was just four corners into a Silverstone Classic race, when he clipped the back of another racer’s wheels and rolled over.

Dad died doing something that he absolutely loved doing”

Jeremy Welch

The car was travelling at a low speed but the roll-bar on the roof of Mr Welch’s 1960s Lotus collapsed while the car was upside down.

His wife Tina watched from the stands as he suffered a fractured skull and died of his severe head injuries.

Speaking at the inquest on Wednesday, Mr Welch’s eldest son Jeremy said his dad had plans to strengthen the roll bar.

He said: “In my opinion, the thickness of the metal tubing was inadequate, but this was in keeping with the age and style of the vehicle.

“I would imagine it could have been replaced, but this was on the to-do list.

“Dad died doing something that he absolutely loved doing.”

Mr Welch, from Stoke-On-Trent, was taking part in a 20-minute pre-1966 vintage Grand Prix last July.

The inquest heard how Mr Welch would have usually been a front-runner but was forced to start from the back of the grid after gearbox problems in qualifying.

Northants senior coroner Anne Pember was satisfied the car had passed all safety checks before being allowed to race.

She returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’, saying Mr Welch died ‘doing what he loved’.

John Symes, technical director of the Motor Sports Association, concluded the crash was a tragic racing accident ‘inherent’ in the risks of motorsport.