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Friday, January 23, 1998 Published at 16:13 GMT


Former racing champion banned from the road
image: [ Nigel Mansell pictured where speed limits do not apply ]
Nigel Mansell pictured where speed limits do not apply

The former British Formula One racing champion, Nigel Mansell, has been banned from driving for six months for speeding.

He admitted breaking the speed limit in his new £200,000 turbo-charged Bentley, after being caught doing 92mph on a road in Somerset, south-west England, last month.

Magistrates in Yeovil also fined him £400, with £35 costs.

Mansell, who is a special constable with the Devon and Cornwall police force, was not in court.

Last July, the motor racing star helped to launch a learner driver training package from the RAC.

It included a video of winter driving techniques and advice on how to avoid crashes.

Mansell can stay on the race track

Although Mansell is obliged to inform race organisers of the ban, it will not affect his eligibility to take part in off-road motor sports.

The RAC Motor Sports Association, the UK governing body responsible for all competition driving licences, only bans drivers in extreme circumstances such as drink-driving or a conviction for dangerous driving.

"We certainly don't condone any action that breaks the law," said its spokesman, Colin Wilson.

"It is often said that someone of Nigel's talent driving at 100mph would be safer than you or I doing 50mph but the law has been broken so he has to be punished."

'He's setting a bad example'

Road safety campaigners criticised Mansell for speeding, saying he risked encouraging other motorists to flout speed limits.

Roger Vincent, senior spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "There are already enough people using Britain's roads as race tracks - what we don't want is the professionals joining them.

"Nigel Mansell is an undoubted expert in his field but something like this is setting an extremely bad example, particularly to young people who will regard him as something of a hero."

Department of Transport figures show that 57% of drivers regularly exceed the 70mph limit on motorways. A further 19% drive at more than 80mph on dual carriageways.

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