A BRITISH Touring Car driver who was seriously injured in an 11-car pile-up during a race has thanked the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) who came to his aid.
Luke Davenport from Madingley, Cambridge, was driving round the Croft Circuit, near Dalton-on-Tees, North Yorkshire, when his car aquaplaned off the track on June 10.
The 24-year-old said: “The track was wet so it wasn’t the best driving conditions. I remember feeling the rear end of the car sliding a lot, causing it to aggressively oversteer at the back, and then I flew off the track and ripped off part of the car’s splitter, which left cooling fluid across the track.
“I tried to restart the car, but there was no water in it so I was a sitting duck. I radioed the team and told them that I was off the track but the car felt really good. At the time, I thought I could just get the grass cleared out of the radiator and then I could head back onto the track.”
Unfortunately, the slippery fluid on the track caused other drivers to lose control of their cars and end up colliding with Mr Davenport’s driver’s side door.
He said: “I was facing away from oncoming vehicles and then I felt the biggest hit in the rear right quarter, which was Andrew Jordan hitting into me. I radioed my team again saying it was a bit more serious than first thought, and then it all goes blank.”
Mr Davenport, who races for Team Shredded Wheat with Duo, broke his left tibia, fibula and ankle, damaged ligaments in his right leg and broke his pelvis.
He also broke four ribs, punctured both lungs, broke his right arm and broke his collarbone.
Mr Davenport and another driver had to be cut from their cars, and GNAAS was called to the scene to assist the British Touring Car Championship medical team.
The GNAAS doctor and paramedic team assessed Mr Davenport and placed him into an induced coma before airlifting him to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. The GNAAS trauma team is able to deliver this advanced procedure as the charity carries doctors on its missions.
Luke is now home with his family and undergoing physiotherapy to help him on the road to recovery. He hopes to be back racing next season.
He added: “I owe my thanks to the guys who helped me that day.”
GNAAS relies on donations to survive. Last year, it needed to raise £5.1m to keep flying in the region. To support the charity, please call 01325-487263 or visit www.gnaas.com