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Accidental death verdict in Brighton speed trial inquest
The family of a speed trials competitor who died after hitting a “dip” in the road at 100mph has called on the council to repair the route before allowing any future events.
Mum-of-three Charlotte Tagg was thrown from her motorbike sidecar after the dip appeared to cause her vehicle to veer to the right and smash into a concrete bollard.
The inquest into the 38-year-old’s death heard vehicles reached speeds of 150mph at the annual Brighton Speed Trials which are held on Madeira Drive.
But witness PC Chris Harrison, police crash investigator, said Brighton and Hove City Council, which is responsible for the road, only maintain it as a 30mph route.
Speaking after the inquest, brother Simon Tagg said: “We don’t blame anyone butwould like to see the council treat the road before the next event. They maintain it as a 30mph road but hire it out for events with speeds at 150mph. They take the money knowing full well the speeds involved.”
Her daughter, Katie, 18, added: “It doesn’t takemuch when going at that speed.Wejustwant them to smooth it out.”
The Brighton Magistrates’ Court inquest heard the motor sports enthusiast had signed up as a last minute replacement for the trials on September 8, 2012.
She was partnering fellowenthusiast Roger Hollingshead in a sprint sidecar and had already successfully completed two runs of the quarter mile track.
But towards the end of their final run, eyewitnesses described their vehicle hitting a “dip” in the road.
The front wheels are said to have “lifted” before veering off to the right at 100mph.
They smashed into a concrete bollard and the driver and passenger were catapulted down the track.
Miss Tagg, of Beck Row, Suffolk, was pronounced dead two hours later at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
The inquest heard how the event, track and vehicle had passed all the necessary safety checks.
PCHarrison said he couldn’t be certain as to the cause of the crash but said the vehicle “grounding” was the most likely “catalyst”.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death with a cause of death as a Pontine haemorrhage.
Tony Johnstone, chair of Brighton and Hove Motor Club who stage the trials, was in court throughout the hearing.
Speaking after the conclusion, he said he would be applying to hold the event next year but would “look into” issues raised about the road surface.
A council spokeswoman added: “Our thoughts are with the family and we will be working with the motor sports association to ensure the safety of any future events.”
Simon Tagg said: “None of us want to see an end to the speed trials. If she thought this year’s event had been cancelled because of her she would have been mortified.”
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