Renaud de Montaignac

23/4/1851 - 2/5/1898

Record updated 02-May-20

Unfortunately for him he is best know for becoming motor racing's first recorded fatality.

Renaud de Montaignac

Renaud de Montaignac de Chauvance, Marquis de Montaignac, was born in the Château de Montaignac, Egletons, Haute-Corrèze, France, he unfortunately, especially for him, became motor racing's first driver fatality when he crashed in Marsac-Le Sault du Chevalier, near Périgueux, France.

Local enthusiasts had organised a 90-mile event to run anti-clockwise on public roads driving from Mussidan to Bergerac and then back through Le Bugue. The field comprised 10 cars and eight motorcycles.

The Marquis de Montariol driving a light Parisienne (Benz) was flagged away 60 seconds in front of his friend the Marquis de Montaignac in a Landry et Beyroux. Shortly after the start the faster Landry et Beyroux had caught up with de Montariol who waved his friend to pass.

This was in the days of tiller steering, a far more sensitive and fragile method of directing a motor vehicle, any lapse of concentration could be fatal and thus it was as he passed he raised a hand to thank his friend, lost control, swerved across to the right and collided with the front of the Parisienne causing it to run off the road and roll over. de Montariol lept clear but his riding mechanic, B. Lestages, was trapped under the vehicle and sustained head injuries.

de Montaignac continued but on hearing the crash and realising that he had caused an accident, he looked back and instantly swerved violently to the right, ran up over the bank into the field where it also rolled. M de Montaignac was very badly injured crushed under the 800 kilo Landry et Beyroux. His ribs were  broken as were his legs. He died three hours later, though he survived long enough to admit that the incident had been all his fault. His unfortunate mechanic, A. Hezard, was also severely injured and died later.