The Ballarat Courier Jan 12th 1957


Italian Olympic rower Arrigo Menicocci was driving the sports car in which he and a young Newlyn athlete met their deaths, a coroners inquiry at Daylesford found yesterday.

The Coroner Mr. D. J. Duggan, SM, was inquiring into the deaths of Menicocci, 23, and Newlyn, Farmer, William McKay, 25.

He was told that the two men met for the first time only a minute before they went out for a spin in McKay's Austin Healey.

McKay carried the Olympic torch for a mile through the Newlyn district before the Olympic Games.
Menicocci rowed stroke for the Italian eight at Lake Wendoree, then returned to the Heidelberg Olympic village.
However he came back to Ballarat on the following weekend to see the Olympic canoeing events.
Menicocci and McKay died in the Daylesford District Hospital shortly after they were admitted on December 1.
Mr Duggan found yesterday that they died of injuries sustained when the car, being driven by Menicocci, left the Ballarat - Daylesford road, near Blampted, and crashed into a tree.
There was evidence of high speed, he said.
" It is a fact that sports cars are driven too fast " Mr Duggan said " I do not think our highways are made to take cars of this type at 70 - 80 miles an hour.
" It is a pity that people with this type of car must try to get the utmost speed out of them.
" And I think that an inexperienced driver, as Menicocci probably was, who is not used to our roads, could easily get into trouble.
" It is a tragedy that these two young men's lives were lost in these circumstances."

Speed 70 - 80 mph.

Noel Gerrard Rieniets, shearer, of Blampted, said that about 5,20 on December 1 he saw McKays car traveling along the Ballarat - Daylesford road at a speed he estimated as between 70-80 miles an hour.
He could not see who was driving the car.
About ten minutes later, he said, he saw where the car had crashed into a tree at the side of the road.
McKay was lying on the road, about six feet from the car and another man was jammed behind the steering wheel with his feet under the controls.
Senior Constable John William Tobin of Daylesford, said that the marks on the road at the collision area made him believe that the car was traveling away from Daylesford, the opposite direction to which Rieniets had seen it driven.
It appeared that the car was on its incorrect side of the road about 110 feet from where it hit the tree.
It had been driven across the road, then skidded slightly and hit the tree. the rear of the car hit a small tree, knocking it out of the ground, and the impact rebounded the car into the opposite direction to which it was traveling.
McKays brother, Robert James McKay, also of Newlyn, said that when the two men left home his brother was driving the car.
But he did not think that Menicocci could have been thrown into the driving seat by the collision.
There was a high tunnel between the two seats and the only way a person could get into the driving seat would be to climb in while the car was stationary.
The car's tyres were in good condition, but were getting "fairly close to bald" he said, The steering was in good condition.