Anatomy of a Crash

Happy Days!
Being a Motoconcepts marshal
Turn 2 Eastern Creek

Sky… ground… whack!

Sky… ground… oomph!

Silence.

I’ve just crashed.

Turn five, Eastern Creek raceway west of Sydney, and my ex Troy Bayliss ZZR-600 lay bleeding in the gravel.

The next few minutes became a slow-motion video. I remember getting up and lifting the bike to its feet. I remember calling in on the radio to tell everyone that the radio still works. I remember parking the bike against the tyre wall.

My next memory is walking out of the medical centre carrying my leathers.

I’d been having a bit of fun with a bloke on a bigger bike. He was faster than me on the straight bits, but my nimbler machine was better in the corners. This meant he could scream past every time we entered the main straight, but two corners later I would be right on his back wheel.

After a frustrating few laps I decided to make a move, and as we entered turn four I let my bike drift left, almost out to the white line. My plan was to pick my bike up early, power out of the turn, then ride up the inside of him as we straightened up for the short run to the next left-hander. This should have seen me entering turn five ahead of him.

Good plan.

Unfortunately he had a different plan.

Seeing my front wheel nudge ahead he accelerated, holding me out wide and cutting off my escape route. With nowhere to go I had to brake hard, and, well, the rest is a blur.

I think I must’ve been still braking and trying to turn at the same time when the front tyre lost grip. The bike went down with me following closely behind.

I can remember the tumbling bit and have images of the world going around. I also remember banging my head a couple of times. There were a couple of loud grunts as the wind was knocked out of me, and some weird scratchy sounds coming from the bike.

A huge shower of dust announced my arrival in the gravel trap.

When everything stopped moving I got up. This is where the wobbly vision kicked in.

I picked up the bike and can remember resting it against my thighs. I then noticed the radio poking through a hole in my bum-bag. Riding as a track marshal at a Motoconcepts ride day one of my responsibilities was to stop and help if anyone broke down or crashed, and the radio was our link back to the control point in pit lane.

The guys were a bit puzzled by my call, which went something like this:

“Oh, hello, it’s Terry here, I think I’ve crashed. The radio’s ok but I’m going to lie down now”

The ambulance crew arrived seconds later, and I was taken back to the medical centre to be given a thorough check-over followed by a large dose of jokes about my riding ability.

Thirty minutes later, with a fuzzy head and a swollen embarrassment gland, I commenced the long walk of shame back to the pits.

Dave the boss wasn’t too upset that one of his marshals had crashed, but I was – you just don’t do that. I was annoyed that I’d let my emotions get the better of me. I was pissed off that I’d turned my track session into my own private little race meeting. I was kicking myself for being stupid.

That was ten years ago, yet it feels like yesterday. Today I only see turn five during my track inspections as Clerk of Course at race meetings, but each time I drive through that corner I’m instantly transported back to that day.

The day I was racing for the World Championship.

You should never live in the past, but gee it’s fun sometimes.

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2 responses to “Anatomy of a Crash

  1. You scared the shit out of me that day. I remember hearing your radio call and thinking “That does not sound right.” and being worried you would wander back onto the track. I jumped on my bike and figured it would be quicker through the back of the pits and out gate 4. I grabbed a handful of throttle and looked down and thought “don’t fall off dickhead, you didn’t even put gloves on”. You were a bit dodgy when I got there but you came good pretty quickly. You were making terrible puns in no time so I knew you were fine. Until this blog I didn’t know why you fell off – I never thought to ask.

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