By Seamus McDonnell
A racing fan was left thunderstruck when he captured the moment a lightning bolt hit the track at Silverstone on Saturday – with such force even the camera shakes.
Ben Webb, 29, had been filming using his phone to show the conditions after a freak storm’s wind and heavy rain had brought racing to a standstill at the Northamptonshire track.
However the building controls engineer’s video caught the lightning striking the tarmac just a few hundred feet away from fans in the stands and as close as 60 feet from race marshals.
Stunning footage shows a massive bolt light up the abandoned track near several orange-jacketed officials with a loud crack – visibly making the camera jump.
Ben, from Chippenham, Wilshire, said: “When it happened we were all shocked to be honest, everyone jumped out of their seats including myself.
“The marshals from the race were only 60 feet away on the track when it happened.
“It was the start of the day, they did a warmup but the race had been suspended because of the weather.
“I decided to take a video to show my mates the rain and then it just happened right in front of us.
“It’s the marshals that were in the most trouble. If the lightning had come down 60 feet in the other direction then it would have been a different story.
“There was even meant to be the 1st junior race on that day but it was cancelled and I think they did it the next morning instead.”
The main race scheduled for the day was a British Touring Car Championship event and the warmup laps for the day had been expected to take place around the time of the incident.
However, the day’s other competition was part of the Ginetta Juniors series which supports the BTCC and is exclusively for 14-17-year-old drivers.
Ben had attended the track with his mother and father and was surprised at how quickly the weather came and went.
He said: “From start to finish it lasted between 45 minutes and an hour. At first it was just rain and clouds but then the lightning happened.
“They had called the main racing off before but they started again quite soon after the storm had passed.”
Ben says poor weather conditions the day before the event had already prompted concerned track officials to move the planned pit walk to a later part of the day.
A Silverstone spokesperson said: “The lightning strike did not stop us continuing with running the event over the weekend.”