Historic FFord racer saved by spectators, driver in fiery crash

Historic Formula Ford driver Nelson Rowe credited two spectators and a competitor for saving his life after he was dragged from his car while engulfed in flames at Cadwell Park

Historic FFord racer saved by spectators, driver in fiery crash

The double Historic Formula Ford champion won last Saturday's race and was disputing the lead of race two when he collided with Cameron Jackson at Charlie's corner - a long, uphill right-hander that tightens at the end - on lap three.

Jackson had missed a gear, catching Rowe out. His Crossle was launched over Jackson's Lola and landed inverted in the grass, with its engine bay bursting into flames.

Fellow competitor and champion Callum Grant, having seen the start of the incident, stopped his Merlyn near the scene and ran back to help.

"The first thing I did was look under the car to see whether the driver was still in it," said Grant, who was assisted by two spectators.

"Nelson's eyes were closed but he was shouting 'get me out'.

"I wasn't strong enough to lift it [a 400kg car] off him, but I have so much admiration for the spectators [who climbed over the fence].

"They were in T-shirts, but as we lifted the car up one of them undid Nelson's belts and pulled him out.

"One also went back for a fire extinguisher."

Rowe said: "I was awake for all of it.

"I couldn't see the flames but could smell petrol and felt something wet on my leg.

"That was from the [in-car] extinguisher, [which was] triggered when the roll hoop moved.

"I could see Callum's blue overalls alongside the car and was relieved to be out.

"My helmet was cracked and my overalls singed. I'm stiff but fine - a lot better than expected."

Still in shock, Grant drove back to the grid where long-time racer Don Hardman sat him down under the trees and comforted him while competitors waited.

"I couldn't believe that Nelson was sitting there calmly having tea with his wife and young daughter," Grant added.

"That was brilliant, but I hope I never find myself in that situation again."

Jackson went on to win the race, with Grant an emotional third. "I'm relieved that Nelson's OK," said Jackson afterwards.

Jonathan Palmer, whose MotorSport Vision concern operates the circuit, said the incident would be investigated but did condone the reaction of the spectators.

"The marshals were beaten to the scene by two spectators who jumped over the fence and helped put the car back on its wheels, after which the driver got out himself," he said.

"It was an unusual situation and prompt action from those spectators but what I would say is for obvious reasons we can't encourage other spectators to do this.

"It certainly could have helped and we're grateful for their quick thinking.

"It would be wrong of us not to look into all incidents, and we are already studying this one to see if anything can be learnt."

Pictures courtesy of Mick Walker

shares
comments
BTCC's Moffat quits TCR UK after team loses faith in organisation
Previous article

BTCC's Moffat quits TCR UK after team loses faith in organisation

Next article

Promoted: The secrets to PF International

Promoted: The secrets to PF International
How Lotus emerged as a period Goodwood force Plus

How Lotus emerged as a period Goodwood force

Colin Chapman’s marque was the most successful across Goodwood’s 71 contemporary era Members’ Meetings, from 1949 to 1966. Many of the future Formula 1 pacesetter's finest creations will be in action during this weekend's 2022 event, attempting to re-live an era when period Lotus was gaining unstoppable momentum

Historics
Apr 8, 2022
How to get the best out of amateur racers Plus

How to get the best out of amateur racers

Pro-Am GT racing is booming. But how should drivers approach working with an amateur? Autosport sought out a panel of experts to explain the pitfalls amateur drivers should avoid and how professionals can help them to achieve their goals

GT
Apr 3, 2022
How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model Plus

How Radical revamped its record-breaking flagship model

Just over a year ago, Autosport sampled Radical’s newest offering: the SR10. Now upgraded, it’s clear to see why it’s become the manufacturer’s fastest-selling model

National
Jan 16, 2022
The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm Plus

The second-generation Can-Am racers that took the UK by storm

When Thundersports was introduced in 1983, few could have predicted that it would bring an army of heavy metal from the United States to British circuits. The awe-inspiring former Can-Am racers became a new domestic flagship category that captivated spectators and drivers alike

National
Jan 14, 2022
The father and son team taking GT racing by storm Plus

The father and son team taking GT racing by storm

GT Cup title winners Richard and Sam Neary emerged as a race-winning force in British GT in 2021. The father-and-son pairing have done it the hard way with their family team – and 19-year-old Sam is only just getting started on a career he hopes will lead to factory opportunities in the near future

National
Jan 9, 2022
Track testing an outgoing stalwart of British motorsport Plus

Track testing an outgoing stalwart of British motorsport

The current GB3 Championship car is due to be replaced next season. Autosport got behind the wheel to discover why it's been a popular machine for drivers making their way up the junior single-seater ladder

National
Dec 15, 2021
Inside the lightweight Czech sportscar making its mark on the UK Plus

Inside the lightweight Czech sportscar making its mark on the UK

Ahead of Praga running its own standalone series in partnership with Britcar, Autosport got behind the wheel of the Czech company’s R1 at Donington – and was left very impressed

National
Dec 5, 2021
How rocket O'Sullivan banished painful memories with GB3 glory Plus

How rocket O'Sullivan banished painful memories with GB3 glory

After missing out on the 2020 British F4 title in astonishing fashion, Zak O'Sullivan was determined to earn his first car racing title stepping up to the BRDC British F3 championship. While the series underwent a mid-year name change to GB3, the Carlin driver was imperious throughout and deservedly claimed the title in his rookie year

National
Dec 1, 2021