Motor-racing legends lead tributes to drivers killed in plane crash
LEGENDS of the motor racing world led tributes yesterday to drivers David Leslie and Richard Lloyd, who were among five people killed when an executive jet crashed into a house in Kent.
Dumfries-born Leslie, 54, a British Touring Car Championship veteran, died along with Lloyd, 63, a former touring car champion, in the crash at Farnborough on Sunday. Also killed were Mike Roberts, 63, the Cessna Citation 501's pilot, Michael Chapman, 57, the co-pilot, and Christopher Allarton, 25, another passenger.
The aircraft is thought to have developed engine trouble after taking off from Biggin Hill airport for Pau, in south-west France. Lloyd is believed to have been travelling to the Nogaro circuit for pre-season testing.
The twin-engine plane was attempting an emergency landing when it crashed into an unoccupied house on an estate beside woods.
Leslie was a five-times Scottish karting champion and competed in a range of motor sports before spending 13 years in the British Touring Car Championship until 2003. He won a BritCar race at Silverstone eight days before his death.
Sir Jackie Stewart, a former Formula 1 champion, said Leslie's death, only six months after rally star Colin McRae died in a helicopter crash near his home in Lanark, was "a great loss to Scottish motor sport". He went on: "Scotland has been sorely hit over the last 12 months with the deaths of Colin McRae and now David Leslie jnr.
"David was a highly skilled and talented racing driver … (and] a proud Scot who represented our country internationally in a dignified and stylish fashion."
Damon Hill, another ex-Formula 1 champion, and president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, said both Leslie and Lloyd were much-loved members. He said: "It was my great pleasure and privilege to have known both men.
"Richard generously gave me an opportunity to drive one of his cars at Le Mans in 1989, at a time when I had no money and no prospects, and I will be entirely grateful to him for that.
"Both men were a credit to the club and motor sport, but above all they were thoroughly decent men."
Sir Stirling Moss, who drove for Lloyd in the early 1960s after his Formula 1 career ended, said: "I knew his capabilities both as a race driver and as an engineer – he was very skilled in both.
"It is an absolute tragedy. He was very well-respected. We have lost a guy who was a very good driver, a nice person and a very good engineer."
Colin Hilton, chief executive of the Motor Sports Association – the sport's UK governing body – said: "David Leslie was a hugely popular figure in almost every formula of motor racing in Britain. His long and successful driving career had not yet come to an end, but he was always keen to use his experience to help younger drivers coming through the sport.
"Richard Lloyd was equally well-regarded throughout the sport. But the pinnacle of his achievements surely came with the Le Mans-winning Bentley team in 2003."
Leslie, who lived near Banbury, in Oxfordshire, leaves his wife, Jane, and two sons. Lloyd, from Northamptonshire, leaves a wife and three daughters.
Leslie's step-mother, Jocelyn, who married his father, also David, after his mother's early death, said at their home in Dumfries: "We won't be saying anything – it's too devastating."
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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