google10fa0980c6101c7f.html The Many Faces of Death: DEATH Of a Racing Driver By Flying Bird - Alan Stacey, UK (BELGIUM)


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Monday, April 2, 2012

1 DEATH Of a Racing Driver By Flying Bird - Alan Stacey, UK (BELGIUM)

Alan Stacey
 Alan Stacey (29 August 1933, Broomfield – 19 June 1960, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium), was a British racing driver. He began his association with Lotus when he built one of the MkVI kits then being offered by the company. Having raced this car he went on to build an Eleven, eventually campaigning it at Le Mans under the Team Lotus umbrella. During the following years he spent much time developing the Lotus Grand Prix cars, most notably the front engined 16 and then the 18.

Born into an Essex farming family in 1933, Stacey was always a daredevil and at the age of 17 he had a motorcycle accident which resulted in the lower part of his right leg being amputated. After that he was fitted with an artificial leg. Undeterred by this he started competing in cars in 1955, starting out at the wheel of a Lotus 11 sports car, which featured a hand throttle. After some success he was offered a drive with Team Lotus in 1958 and was soon winning races. His first Grand Prix was at Silverstone. He also tried his hand at Formula Junior.

After winning the Farningham Trophy at Brands Hatch, another victory at Crystal Palace and an impressive third place in a GT race at Rouen, Stacey was offered the chance by Colin Chapman to try his hand at Formula 1 in addition to his work as a sports car driver and in Formula 2.  He participated in 7 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix.  He scored no championship points. He also participated in several non-Championship Formula One races.


The remains of Alan Stacey's car after his
fatal accident in the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix.
 In the inset, Stacey before the race.
Stacey was killed during the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix, at Spa-Francorchamps, when he crashed at 120 mph (190 km/h). after being hit in the face by a bird on lap 25, while lying in sixth place with his Lotus. Stacey was driving the same type of Lotus as Stirling Moss, who was nearly killed on the previous day.

He went off the road on the inside of a fast curve. The inside of a turn is where great forces push a car out. Stacey's Lotus climbed an embankment that was waist-high. It penetrated ten feet of thick hedges and fell into a field. He died within a few minutes of Chris Bristow who was driving a Cooper entry which belonged to the Yeoman Credit team. The two Englishmen were killed only a few hundred feet apart, at the sweeping Burnenville corner, the same right hand bend where Moss crashed the previous day. Moss came away with broken legs, three broken ribs, and a broken nose. In a mid-1980s edition of Road and Track Magazine, Stacey's friend and teammate Innes Ireland wrote a touching article about Stacey's death, in which he stated that some spectators claimed that a bird had flown into Stacey's face while he was approaching the curve, possibly knocking him unconscious, or even possibly killing him by breaking his neck, before the car crashed.

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