Tragedy in opening round of two-race Class I Grand Prix
An accident in the fourth lap of the opening round of the two-race Class 1 Gabon Grand Prix on Friday resulted in the death of British driver William Nocker. His co-driver, Norwegian Kurt Olsen, remains in a critical condition in intensive care.
Driving Welmax (pictured), the pair capsized at speed on the multi-lap course off Libreville on the estuary of the Gabon River.
The race, the second round of the Class 1 World Offshore Championship, was immediately stopped as safety teams rushed to attend to the injured crew at the scene. They were brought ashore and transferred to Omar Bongo Ondimba Military Hospital but all efforts to resuscitate William Nocker were in vain.
Tragically the event marked Nocker’s return to the sport following a four-year suspension after being caught on CCTV putting water in a fellow competitor’s fuel tank during the Honda Formula 4-Stroke series.
As a mark of respect to the drivers and their families race organisers cancelled Saturday’s second round before abandoning the event completely. The Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) launched an immediate investigation into the accident.
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