The Special Slams Back Down

Harris' crash was one of three big smash-ups that day in the same corner.  In the one fatal incident, a Stanguellini Formula Junior driver locked wheels with another Junior braking for the slow right-hand Turn 2.  His car was also was catapulted into the air.  The third rollover accident involved a Lotus Elite, its driver was unhurt.

(1-15-09)   From Bob Harris:

"About the fatality, I can't remember the drivers name, but it was a formula car. I was talking to him on the starting grid, and tried to tighten his seat belt. I remember he said "I don't like it that tight, do you have yours that tight?" I explained to him that my crew tightens my belt until it feels like it's almost going to cut me in half, which later saved my life. In the same turn that I later crashed in, he made contact with another car and launched into the air. He then started a series of sideways rollovers. He was partially ejected, with the seatbelt catching him just at the knees. It was instantly fatal."

After the event, the course layout received heavy criticism.  The fast left-hand Turn 1 followed by the slow right-hand Turn 2 was considered a "trap" for less-skilled amateur drivers, especially with the pavement very slippery after two days of heavy racing use.

E-Jag racer Wally Barnitz quit racing permanently after his Saturday qualifying race, saying that the Santa Barbara course was "like racing on ice".

Jerry Titus wrote a fascinating article on the dangers of the Turn 1-2 corner sequence in Volume 7, #21 of the "MotoRacing" racing tabloid published by Gus Vignolle in the 1950s-60s.

In this "YouTube"video shot by your webmaster at an earlier Santa Barbara event, the corner sequence can be seen.  Harris is #17 in the Campbell Special. 

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