Formula One’s tribute to journalist killed in motorbike crash

Thursday 22nd March 2018 8:00 am
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The Surrey Police witness appeal sign at the spot on the A286, at Brook, which has now claimed the lives of a car driver and motorcyclist in the last four months ()

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THE notorious A286 Grayswood Road, near Haslemere, has claimed its second fatal road accident victim in less than four months.

A police witness appeal sign marks the spot between Brook and Grayswood where Henry Hope-Frost, from Weybridge, a well-known and popular motorsport and Formula One presenter, tragically lost his life in a head-on collision, on March 8.

The accident happened around 4.30pm on the narrow main artery into the town, when the motorcyclist and father-of-three travelling south towards Brook collided with a Toyota Prius being driven towards Grayswood.

Forty-seven-year-old Mr Hope-Frost was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the accident.

The driver of the car was uninjured.

Haslemere Fire and Rescue and St John Ambulance were first on the scene following the accident, along with ambulance crews from South East Coast Ambulance Service and the air ambulance, which put down in a field adjoining the road.

Diversions were set up and the road was closed in both directions for nearly seven hours following the fatal accident.

It was finally re-opened just before 11.30pm

As news of Mr Hope-Frost’s fatal crash filtered though, tributes to the popular journalist, commentator and motorsport expert poured in on social media from his friends and colleagues.

Within hours of news of the news of his death, ex-Formula One champion Damon Hill tweeted: “Shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden loss of the lovely Henry Hope-Frost.

“A much loved man. Too sad.”

Jenson Button, who won the Formula One crown in 2009, tweeted: “So sad that such a great man lost his life in a road accident.

“U (sic) could always tell how passionate Henry Hope-Frost was about motorsport when he interviewed you, it felt so natural like you were having a good old chinwag with ur closest mate. Sending love to his family.”

TV presenter Jake Humphrys – who has hosted the BBC’s Grand Prix coverage around the world – posted an emotional tribute on Twitter, pleading with his 928,000 followers to live each day.

“I flicked onto Twitter to see the utterly devastating news that one of the great guys in motorsport died yesterday in an accident on his way home from Goodwood.

“I can’t believe it. Henry was full of passion, energy, fun, mischief and kindness.

“He had a genuine fever for motorsport, For me this is about the death of one of the good guys.”

The Motorsport Association tweeted: “Our hearts grew heavy as news filtered through of the tragic loss of Henry Hope-Frost.

“It goes without saying that our thoughts are with Henry’s family and many friends at this incredibly tough time. RIP, Henry. Gone but never forgotten.”

And Williams Racing posted: “We’re shocked to hear the terrible news about our dear friend and colleague Henry Hope-Frost.

“Our thoughts are with his friends and family”.

Known for his casual and relaxed style and his obsession with motorsport which he nick-named as ‘the fever,’ his friends set up a Just Giving page to crowd fund for his family, originally setting the target at £38,000 to reflect the 38 degree temperature required to recognise a ‘proper fever’.

The response was overwhelming and as The Herald went to press, more than £70,000 had been raised.

And this weekend Goodwood motor circuit in West Sussex will pay its own tribute to the man dubbed the ‘Voice of Goodwood,’ at its 76th Members’ Meeting.

“A fever-filled tribute for Henry Hope-Frost at Goodwood will pay tribute to its long-serving and incomparable maestro of the microphone Henry Hope-Frost,” its website said.

The ‘loudest tribute possible’ say the organisers will take place before Saturday’s Formula 5000 high-speed demonstration, with engines firing up for a ‘Minute of Fever’ to mark the commentator’s long service and passionate association with Goodwood’s motorsport – including its sell-out annual Festival of Speed and Revival events.

In November, 80-year-old Christopher Breach, from Guildford, tragically lost his life at an accident black spot on the A286, in Brook, when the Alfa Romeo he was driving hit a a brick wall on a sharp bend on the brow of the hill at the entrance to the Rockwood Estate.

Surrey Police have appealed to anyone who witnessed the latest incident, or with any other information, to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on (01483) 639922..

They are also keen to talk to anyone who may have dash cam footage of the road around the time of the incident.

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