Byline: NICK PAPPS, Grand Prix reporter
GRAND Prix ghouls scrambled for pieces of a wrecked Formula One car just metres from dying track marshal Graham Beveridge.
Race officials had to push the fans back so medical officials could work to keep the 52-year-old Queenslander alive.
Race marshal Paul Reeves said several people also tried to push around a tarpaulin to watch desperate attempts to revive Mr Beveridge after he was hit by a tyre.
``We started pushing them back,'' Mr Reeves, 45, of the Dandenong Ranges said. ``They were very close. There were people trying to grab debris.
``There's always the scavengers that will try to grab anything.''
Mr Reeves said officials erected a tarpaulin to protect Mr Beveridge while he lay next to the track.
``But we still had people through a morbid interest trying to look at what was happening,'' he said.
``It's the ghoul factor.''
Mr Reeves was working on the same turn as Mr Beveridge when the tyre was severed from Jacques Villeneuve's car and smashed though a gap in the fence at 200km/h and into Mr Beveridge.
``When I heard the impact and the debris started to fly I ducked,'' Mr Reeves said.
``His instant reaction was to put his hands up.
``He was unconscious and there was a black mark on the front of his uniform.''
Mr Reeves said he was just 10 metres away from Mr Beveridge when the crash happened and had spent three days with him at the track.
``He was enjoying himself,'' Mr Reeves said. ``He loved his motor racing.''
Despite the death, Mr Reeves, who has marshalled at five grands prix said he would be back next year.
``The safety is first class,'' he said. ``It was a freak accident.''
It also emerged yesterday Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker and Formula One Supremo Bernie Ecclestone will each donate $25,000 to Mr Beveridge's widow Karen.
Mr Walker said ``it is just a small gesture'' and revealed that Benetton team boss Flavio Briatore has agreed to re-auction a Ferrari scooter he bought at the Grand Prix Ball for $30,000. The proceeds will go to the Beveridge family.
Another auction is also planned with Grand Prix drivers set to sell their helmets, clothing and other memorabilia to raise more than $100,000 for the Beveridge family.
On Friday a service will be held for Mr Beveridge in Bowral, attended by Mr Walker and Sport Minister Justin Madden.
Four spectators are ready to sue the Grand Prix Corporation over the accident.
Eugene Arocca from Maurice Blackburn Cashman said one of the spectators received minor injuries after being hit by a piece of debris and the other three would sue over the trauma of seeing Mr Beveridge being hit.