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Tributes As Racing Legends Mourned


Tributes have been paid to two prominent motorsport figures who died in a plane crash on Sunday.


Former touring Car race driver David Leslie, 54, of Burdrop and Richard Lloyd, 63, of Helmdon, were among five people killed when a light aircraft crashed into a housing estate in Farnborough, Kent.


The Cessna Citation I had just left Biggin Hill Airfield on route to Pau in south-west France when the pilot complained of engine trouble.


Minutes later the plane crashed and burst into flames.


The deaths of Mr Leslie and Mr Lloyd have rocked the motorsport industry and tributes have been paid by racing legends past and present.


Damon Hill, president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, said: “Both men were much loved members of our club.


“This accident is a shock to all of us and we can only think of all those that have been touched by this tragedy.  Both men were a credit to the club and motor sport but above all they were thoroughly decent men who loved the sport.  They will be much missed.”


Mr Leslie won nine British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) races for Vauxhall, Honda and Nissan as well as being a former F3 driver.


The highlight of his BTCC career was finishing as Championship runner-up in 1999 to teammate Laurent Aiello.


Mr Lloyd, meanwhile, was regarded as one of the top 20 most successful British touring car drivers.  After being crowned British Saloon Car Class Champion for three years running during the 1970s, he established the successful GTi Engineering motor racing team.


During the 1980s Mr Lloyd switched his attention away from touring cars in favour of sports cars and the company was renamed Richard Lloyd Racing.  In the 1990s Mr Lloyd’s team won the Porsche 924 Championship and in 1996 Mr Lloyd again saw success in the British Touring Car Championship. 


Henry Handkammer of Mr Lloyd’s company Apex said:  “Richard possessed a sure, but gentle touch in all that he did, and was the consummate politician in this competitive business that we all love.”


The Air Accident Investigation Branch has begun examining the site for clues about the cause of the tragedy. 


The Banbury Guardian – April 3rd, 2008


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