Torbay car trial competitor rescued
A friend of mine has competed in Classic Car trials for a number of years. I have frequently been his navigator as we have enjoyed days out across the South West and beyond in his Schmitar SS1 trying to battle our way through the mud and water in our quest towards the finish line.
For the 2010 Torbay Trial however I was a spectator, as Keith competed in a trail he had been busily getting back on to the Trials Calendar for the last few months. Negotiating with all the local authorities, Parish Councils and Landowners had almost been a full-time job, however now he could enjoy the fruits of his labours as the day of competition had arrived.
I parked my car and wandered the half mile or so down to a Section that Keith had identified as being a good one to watch. High banks either side of the greasy and muddy track meant you could look down on the competitors as they tested themselves and machine against the short 100M or so 9th Section of the day.
First off were the motorbike and sidecars. The first Sidecar progressed up the Section with little or no incident other than us commenting to the Marshall that it looked a tad dangerous being on one of those things and I was quite happy to stick to the cars when I assisted Keith. We then heard the engine of the next competitor as he left the start line and we peered down the course waiting for him to come around the sharp left hand bend on his way up the track. Then there was a bang, crunch and the engine stalled. He’s obviously blown something we thought and walked down to see what had happened.
Around the corner we were presented with a picture of the driver lying on his back on the track in obvious pain, with his passenger and spectators peering around him. He had lost control of the bike and it had landed on top of him with the bar that the passenger holds on for balance on the sidecar, catching him on the thigh. The bike had been lifted off him and my partner, being a nurse, offered to help which was gratefully accepted. She comforted him and assessed his injuries as the Ambulance was called. It was during this 15-minute wait that he asked her ‘ Be honest, what’s the damage?’ She responded with ‘ Well its likely you have broken your femur and potentially maybe a few other minor injuries…’ when he interrupted her with ‘ Not me, my bike!’
The Ambulance turned into the Devon Air Ambulance http://www.daat.org and it landed at the top of the hill as the Paramedics made their way, joined by a land crew who had walked down from the road, to his side and prepare him for evacuation to hospital.
As they were stabilising him and preparing him for transfer, I found a flat area closer to the incident, away from the trees and power lines and the helicopter landed there so that it was a short 200 Mtr walk downhill with the stretcher rather than a slippery walk 800 Mtrs or so up hill.
Happily the man was airlifted to hospital and he is on the road to recovery. He had 3 broken ribs and an operation to pin his broken femur and was back on his feet again within a few days supported by crutches, ready to compete on another day.
The Ambulance and Devon Air Ambulance both did a fantastic job. The Air Ambulance is a charity and rely’s on the public’s generosity to keep both its aircraft in the air.
Please support them as the provide a fantastic service.
Incidentally one of my photographs of the day has been converted into the April Devon Air Ambulance wallpaper. I’ve never had a photo published before so I am very chuffed.