The death of an eight-year-old girl who crashed while trying to obtain her junior drag racing licence in Perth came down to inexperience, a coroner has concluded, calling for more training and safety measures.
Anita Board slammed into a concrete barrier after she crossed the finish line without slowing down then attempted to turn through an exit gate at Perth Motorplex in November 2017 - two days after she reached the minimum age to apply for a competition licence.
Most witnesses said it appeared she didn't brake, but her father Ian Board told the WA Coroners Court she might not have applied enough pressure.
While the crash didn't look severe, Anita was unconscious, initially not breathing and had a weak pulse.
She was rushed to hospital but had suffered a catastrophic brain injury and died the next day.
Coroner Sarah Linton said the sport was inherently dangerous and she found it "difficult to come to terms with the idea of children being put at risk in this way".
"However, I have heard, and I accept, the evidence of the witnesses involved in drag racing that the risks for junior drag racers are much lower than they might superficially appear," she said.
"Views differ between the general community and the local drag racing community as to whether her death could be said to be foreseeable."
Witness Simon Cope, whose daughter races, told the inquest more needed to be done to promote a more safety conscious attitude in the sport, saying there had been "an ongoing disregard for applying the current rules consistently for a long time".
"While Anita's death could be described as a freak accident, he had witnessed many disturbing safety issues that had made him feel an incident like this, while unprecedented, was inevitable," the coroner said.
Mr Cope also said it was important to properly determine if children were ready to start racing.
Another junior dragster parent, Michael Naylor, posted on a social media message board before the crash that Anita had "plenty of time and may be rushing a little", words Ms Linton described as prescient.
The court heard that before her solo licence pass attempt, Anita had to a repeat a stationary test in her dragster because she appeared nervous.
She then became tearful when her vehicle had a flat tyre.
Children should have more training
After it was fixed, her father noticed she was a bit hesitant but she said she still wanted to go down the track, smiling and giving the thumbs up, then doing a fist pump.
Ms Linton made multiple recommendations, saying children should have more comprehensive and independently regulated training before they can get their drag racing licence.
More could be done to improve the general safety of the venue, she added.
The coroner did not recommend lifting the age requirement.
The WA government banned junior drag racing pending the coronial process and children have been travelling interstate or overseas to compete since Anita's death, including her sister.
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