Epsom roof damaged as 100mph gusts batter UK

EPSOM Downs will today begin repair work on its £38m Duchess Stand after the racecourse was damaged by the storm-force winds that battered Britain yesterday.

Large amounts of insulation escaped after gusts that reached 100mph in some areas of the country dislodged part of the roof of the stand, which only opened in 2009.

The Surrey venue had to be evacuated for safety reasons but will reopen this morning, when technicians are due to begin the clean-up operation.

A statement read: “Following severe weather conditions and turbulent winds at Epsom Downs Racecourse this morning, the Duchess Stand roof has been damaged. There were no injuries but as a result and after liaising with the emergency services, the racecourse has been evacuated and all non-essential members of staff sent home. The emergency services are on site and are monitoring the situation.”

No races are scheduled until April and any other events will be moved to the Queen’s Stand if necessary while repairs continue.

It came as organisers at Ayr racecourse were forced to abandon yesterday’s meeting, after damaged trees caused accessibility problems.