In the Line of Action: Wrecked at Bushy Park
In the Line of Action is a new column on Adrenaline Sun where athletes talk about the exciting and dangerous split second events that happen in action sports.
Shannon Kirton: Rally driver of the Ullyet Motor Sports Team
In August 2011, during a race at Bushy Park (Barbados), Shannon was involved in a three car crash that wrecked her team’s Datsun 160J.
“It was the second race for Group 2A during the 2011 International Meeting at Bushy Park Racing Circuit . We just started lap 5 of the 8 lap race and I was slowly climbing my way up the pack and holding off some stiff competition. The newly installed 1600 was working well and we had already improved leaps and bounds from the previous meets earlier in the year. In front of me was Sean Russell (aka Doc), and behind me was Ferdinand Lord.
We crested pit hill in a small group and Doc lost control of the car. He went off the track in a straight line and through the grass. It was a slightly wet day as we had some morning showers. Lord and I continued around the “S” bends and on approach to the “Gooseneck Hairpin”, Doc re-entered the track directly in front of my car. Had he kept going, we would probably have missed each other, but instead he turned sharply back to his left and I crashed into his passenger door shattering the glass.
The right front of my car was damaged, but it was still fixable, and we could have continued to race the remainder of the day as no vital components were damaged. It was a sudden stop from approximately 75 km per hour. Lord was so close to me that he had no time to react and ran into the left rear of my car at about the same 75 kmph. That impact twisted the entire car, and the fender collapsed onto the back wheel rendering it motionless. After the second impact, Doc moved off and continued his race until the checkered flag. I attempted to move the car slowly off the track, but that was when I realized that I could not. I had to sit in my car for an additional two laps and finally made it to the infield. After the race concluded, they sent the ambulance for me as a routine procedure, but I did not see Doc for the rest of the day.
Upon arrival at the de-briefing meeting, I requested to speak with racing officials who were present at the said event. I was told that “no one can help you until we see video footage of the incident”. We waited and waited, the video footage never made it. As we started to relive the group races during the meeting, I brought up the topic again. I was told “we can’t deal with that right now”. I spoke to many people that evening, and would you believe that no one could help me. I asked for consequences to take place. I didn’t expect the man to pay for my repairs or my car. I simply expected some discipline; a ban from one race meet, championship points to be taken away, SOMETHING! But nothing was done. I tried for quite a few meetings there after to have some justice served but no luck. Apparently, it was not the first time Doc had pulled a stunt like that. The entire thing was passed off as “a racing incident”.
We then retired the car, deciding to cut our losses and start with a new project. We had already had conversations about reviving Nigel Reece’s ex 120Y, but now it was actually going to happen. We transferred the engine and drive train, installed the seats and generally fixed up the whole car. It is a lot lighter and more agile than the 160J ever was and I am having so much more success in it than I’ve ever had before. Onward and upward I say!