“…I came down the hill out of druids tight on the tail of Kev Lucas and rocketed in to Graham Hill bend…sadly it was too quick and I ran wide heading higher up the kerb than usual. The back end snapped out, I grabbed it back and spun. (Maybe I over did it, maybe I was tagged, I don’t remember getting hit but there was a big dent in the back of the car.) Either way I then speared off on to the wet grass. At this point my car felt like it accelerated and all I could see was tyre wal! Braking was futile and I braced myself for the big impact as I went head first in to the barrier…my only thought…this is going to hurt! It did, but not as much as I expected. Then everything went in to slow motion and I ducked as car parts, wings and headlights flew over my head.
The car came to rest and I killed the engine, jumped out and over the tyre wall. I then stood and watched as my radiator emptied its contents in to the grass and my locost just steamed!”
(One of the nicest parts of this accident if there was one was that almost every driver slowed down and checked to see if i was ok on their way past on the cooling down lap – thanks guys – you’re great.)
I was so convinced that the car would mend and be back out the next day however the officials were less sure and I got sent to see the doctor before I was allowed in the recovery truck. On closer inspection of my car I could see why. My chassis was wrecked! 😦
Back in the paddock there were lots of offers of help and a group of us (James, Jason, Keith, Richard and me) began stripping the car. The more we removed the worst the chassis looked and when it became really obvious that about 8 bars were buckled and bent I finally admitted it wasn’t going to happen and the new goal became getting it in the lorry. An amazing group of drivers and helpers who must have all had their weetabix that morning picked up my car like a giant wheel barrow and soon it was back in the truck.
Thank you soo much to everyone who helped, offered parts and generally came to my rescue – I really, really appreciated it.
Once back home in Lincolnshire I began stripping the car (slightly slowed down by having cracked a couple of ribs in the crash.) Within a couple of days it was ready for a new front end.
The car then took a holiday in Birmingham (at Procomp) and came back looking very good (Thank you Matt and Ivan). It was now sporting a new front end. New nose, scuttle and bonnet plus a few other improvements which should make it much easier to race (anti-roll bar and improved front end set up). The front looked so good that I thought I had better spruce the rest of it up and on Saturday, the paint stripping began, ready for its fresh new look!
By the 16th of August things were coming together and all I needed to do was to paint the inside and the roll cage, redo the brake lines, put a new battery in, couple up the cooling system, rewire it and put the panels back.
The engine was back in but the starter motor etc all needed to go back on and I had a few more touches like bonnet springs, knocking the back panel back out and adding wings to do before it would be ready to race again.
By the 23 of August I had the brake lines and cooling system back in but had a new found respect for body shops. Despite being the middle of summer, it wasn’t that warm and I was working outside at night after work, often by torch light. The hammerite I painted the inside with, went on thick and dried too slowly, running as it was drying and I wasn’t at all pleased with the final result.
With all the work needed on the car I missed the next race weekend in the championship but was back for the round after and on 28 September 2008 the car was all complete, looking better than ever and back on track racing.