Alan Stacey

Alan Stacey

29/8/1933 - 19/6/1960

Stacey had an artificial lower right leg and used a motorcycle style twist-grip throttle. Drove for Lotus but was killed at 1960 Belgian Grand Prix when he was hit full in the face by a bird causing him to crash.

<font face="Tahoma" size="2">Alan Stacey was born in in Broomfield, Somerset, England. He started racing in 1955 with a MkVI Lotus which he built from a kit. He went on to build a Lotus XI and after a very successful season in 1956 which saw him take a number of wins at Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Silverstone and Goodwood, he was offered a works drive with Team Lotus in 1957.

Stacey was very quick despite having an artificial lower right leg, the result of a motorcycle accident when he was 17. This meant that he couldn't 'heal and toe' effectively and to help, the Lotus engineers installed a motorcycle style twist-grip throttle mounted on the gear lever to speed up down shifts.

The prosthetic leg was lightened with a number of holes and one of Innes Ireland's favorite tricks was to jam a screwdriver into one of these holes though Alan's overalls in front of some unsuspecting member of the public.

In 1958 he once again had a number of good results in sports cars. A second at Silverstone in the Daily Express Trophy Meeting behind Graham Hill was followed by a win at the Crystal Palace Trophy Meeting.

In June he traveled to France for the 3 Hour race at Rouen. It was there that he had to undergo a medical and, worried by the bureaucracy of the French organisers, he took his friend, the racing journalist Jabby Crombac, along with him. Once the doctor had tested the reaction time of Alan's good leg by tapping it just below the knee, Jabby distracted the doctor so that Alan could cross his leg and back again, enabling the good leg to be tested again. In the race he finished third.

In July he drove in the sports car support race and made his Formula 1 debut at the British Grand Prix. He qualified the Lotus-Climax 16 at the back of the grid and went out on the 19th lap with overheating problems.

Alan went on to take a number of wins in sports cars including the Rochester Trophy and Kentish Trophy at Brands Hatch, beating Graham Hill in the latter race. He also took wins at the International Gold Cup Meeting at Oulton Park and the BRSSC Meeting at Brands Hatch in October.

All the Lotus drivers were frustrated by the lack of reliability in the works cars in 1959 and Stacey had little to show in he way of results. He did win at the British Empire Trophy Meeting at Oulton Park in April, and made another Grand Prix appearance at Aintree in July. Innes Ireland qualified the car in 12th place and Alan drove steadily to finish 8th, 5 laps down on Jack Brabham who took the win.

Graham Hill joined BRM in 1960 and Alan was promoted to number. He started the season driving a 250F Maserati in the Buenos Aires Grand Prix with António Creus, though they failed to finish. Back in Europe he finished fourth in the International Trophy race but then retired again at Monaco and in Holland at Zandvoort, where he had a wonderful race, running third for almost the entire distance before suffering transmission failure on lap 57.
 
Moving on to Spa, the weekend started badly with Moss crashing badly and sustaining a broken nose, three broken ribs and both legs, when his Lotus lost a wheel at Burnenville. Mike Taylor also crashed when his steering column sheared near Stavelot, plunging him into the trees.


Worse was to follow in the race the next day. Chris Bristow was battling for sixth place with Wolfgang von Trips and Willy Mairesse when, on the 20th lap, he crashed at Burnenville, rolling several times, decapitating the unfortunate driver in the process. Jim Clark, in his first season of F1, nearly ran over his body. Then just two laps later, on lap 25, traveling at about 140mph on the Masta straight and approaching Burnenville, Stacey was hit in the face by a bird. He lost control, the car climbed an embankment and went through ten feet of thick hedge before landing in a field. Stacey was flung out of the vehicle and died from his injuries.

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