I am deeply touched by the offers of condolences from readers of this column following my rather ungraceful exit from the race at the Bira Circuit three weeks ago.
Ungraceful perhaps, but still rather exciting, and I have to say the biggest crash I’ve ever had in 50 plus years of motor racing. Head on into an unforgiving concrete wall is not to be recommended and the physical insult to my body was quite severe.
The fracture of the tail bone is the most painful and persistent. Homo sapiens did away with our redundant tails several millennia ago, but what was left will take three to four months to heal. This means three to four months of sitting down carefully.
The 15 stitch laceration to the groin area has healed so the morning trip to “Wound Care” for dressings has finished and the concomitant embarrassment likewise. The bruising to Willie the Wonder Wand has settled and it looks the correct color again. Black didn’t suit me.
Having been driving for more than 50 years has brought out well-meaning friends and relatives suggesting I retire. Why? I saw my first motor race when I was 11 and that was all I wanted to do. I’ve just got into my stride. I have been told there’s a guy in Scandinavia just retired aged 84. That’s fine – my ambition is then to be 85.
The car unfortunately does not have a healing process like I do. Mother Nature does not cover mechanical stuff. At this stage I am waiting for quotes to see if we can pull the car straight or build up another body shell. Unfortunately it isn’t a simple swap of parts, the body was reinforced in many places and there is much time needed to do it all again.
The sponsors have also been very solicitous, with Terry Wilson from AVO looking after the turbo and the (very bent) intercooler, for example and Sandy Chapo from The Venue and The Billabong lining up as a major sponsor again.
My friend (and a sponsor) Thomas Raldorf put up a list of the cars he has driven in the past 12 years on Facebook. My list is also very long, covering the time since 1965 till now. Starting with old MG’s (MG TC, MG TD, MG A, MGB) and onwards. Mixed up in the middle of them are motorcycles (including a speedway 500 cc single and a couple of dirt bike racers. Also at the speedway a 6 liter Hi-Bar Gambler Sprinter with giant wings. They travel sideways by just looking at the accelerator pedal.)
The classes include Production Sports (3 of these), Series Production sedans, 1300 Sports, Ford Escort Mk 1 (5 of them), Open wheeler (Formula Vee, Formula Ford (2 of them), Formula 5,000, Formula Gemini (4 of them), Datsun 510 (2 of those), HQ Holden, Toyota Vios, Porsche 911 T and Porsche Carrera. There’s more but I can’t remember them all! Happens when you get older!
To (re)build the Escort will take much money. Doing it on the cheap will still see 300,000 baht swallowed up (the aim is 2×100,000 and 2×50,000 sponsors). If you know of anyone whose company might like to get involved please point them in my direction and give them a push! My little team won’t win world championships, but we’ll have some fun on the way at the ‘picnic’ races at the local Bira Circuit. In between we will show the race car at functions and even take you for a couple of laps.