CAR and motorbike enthusiasts have been urged to stay away from illegal street racing and ‘cruiser’ meetings in Thurrock following a third serious injury incident within four months.
A motorcyclist suffered multiple injuries when his bike collided with a lamppost at West Thurrock Way, at 2.30am on Sunday August 2.
In a similar incident at the same location on April 11 this year a motorcycle went out of control and hit a spectator. The rider and pedestrian both suffered serious leg injuries. And in a third crash on May 24 a motorcyclist suffered a broken leg when he lost control of his machine and crashed, also at West Thurrock Way.
Chief Inspector Nick Lee, head of road policing at Essex Police, said: "Hundreds of spectators attend these illegal events where cars, and more recently, motorbikes are involved in racing or stunt riding.
"Four people have been seriously injured this year and it is only a matter of time before there is a fatality among the drivers or spectators as there have been at gatherings in other parts of the UK.
"One of the problems is that spectators have no concept of the dangers they face by watching the illegal racing at West Thurrock Way.
"I was there one recent Saturday evening and people approached me and said they were there to watch the racing and asked where they could park. They had no idea it was an illegal activity.
"We are not anti-cruisers and are not against motorsport, but this is a public road, not an authorised race track. There are no safety barriers and the small railings that spectators shelter behind are not built to stop vehicles entering a crowd.
"Spectators are definitely putting their lives at risk by lining the route and encouraging anti-social behaviour.
"In the latest motorbike crash the rider fell off and the machine slide out of control for about 20 metres and came to rest on a roundabout where dozens of spectators normally stand.
"Hundreds of drivers have been prosecuted for speeding at these gatherings in recent years and we will continue to patrol the area every weekend. But cruisers do tend to move to different venues around the county and races can be arranged at any time or anywhere.
"We would urge the public to continue to call us whenever they see or hear signs of cars or bikes being raced and at the same time advise people not to visit these sites as spectators.”
A total of 35 people have been sent Notices of Intended Prosecution for speeding offences at Lakeside on the weekend of July 25-26.
After a similar operation on Saturday and Sunday August 1-2, officers are dealing with 10 speeding offences, five cases of careless driving, three vehicles without insurance and about 20 other motoring offences.