Twelve months ago, the Pattaya Mail’s sponsored driver, Dr. Iain Corness, had the biggest race accident he has ever had. Straight into the wall at warp speed, with so much damage to the Escort Mk 1 that Dr. Iain was sure the car was a write off. He did not escape unscathed either, with some fractured bones and a 15 stitch laceration.
Amusing now, but the first person running to assist him as he lay in the dirt beside the wreck was the flag marshal who said “Hey Mister, you OK?” “Does it bloody well look like it,” was Dr. Iain’s response.
Thai panel shops are amazing with their abilities with metal, and the body shop in Bangkok assured him that the Escort could be fixed to better than when it was new. That was no idle boast, but after three months, the car came out of the shop, much better than new, with weak points reinforced.
The first outing for the repaired car was in September and it drove well, but Dr. Iain found he had a big problem with confidence. Tentative under brakes and timid with traffic, his lap times were 10 second a lap slower than previously.
This produced extreme introspection and self-doubts. Was this to be the end of a motor racing career that had begun in 1965?
The next meeting was the beginning of November and Thomas Raldorf, a multiple championship winner, who normally tutored new drivers, took Thailand’s oldest race driver under his wing, getting Dr. Iain to relearn skills he had blotted out.
The mojo was still there, and with assistance, the lap times came tumbling down, ending up 2.5 seconds quicker than before. Competitive again.
Over the Xmas lay-off Dr. Iain intends putting the immaculate car on displays.