Historic FFord driver saved from fiery crash

Marcus Pye and Stefan Mackley
This article first appeared on autosport.com

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.

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 out 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

Recent news


Who I have my money on for the BTCC title

By Matt James

Rallying News

Citroen: Meeke was 'not under control'

Citroen World Rally team principal Pierre Budar felt Kris Meeke was out of control and left...

Karting: The secrets to PF International

As part of our special investigation into the world of karting, we got former karting star and...

Racing News

BTCC driver Moffat quits TCR UK

British Touring Car Championship driver Aiden Moffat has exited the TCR UK championship, with...

Rallying News

Citroen: C3 design saved Meeke in crash

Citroen team principal Pierre Budar believes the design of the manufacturer's C3 World Rally...

Rallying News

Triple ERC champion makes WRC2 move

Reigning three-time European Rally champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz will move into the World Rally...

Taking on the European karting scene

The international karting paddock has witnessed its fair share of talented British drivers in...


Silverstone's rallycross adventure

By Matt James

Rallying News

Electric Mitsubishi rally car being developed

Swedish outfit Mpart has started developing an electric Mitsubishi rally car built around R5...

Rallying News

New WRC GB route a missed opportunity - Evans

Last year's Rally GB winner Elfyn Evans feels the revamped route for Wales' 2018 World Rally...

Rallying News

Rally seeding rules relaxed

Two-wheel drive and historic rally cars will be able to run first on the road on rally events...

Rallying News

MN Road Rally legends to attend Speed and Rally Show forum

Legends of the Motoring News Road Rally Championship will attend a forum at this weekend’s...

Rallying News

New push to get privateers back in WRC

World Rally Championship organisers are mounting a new push to get privateers back in the series'...

Rallying News

Toyota rules out team orders to boost Tanak

Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen has ruled out making Ott Tanak a clear number one and imposing...

Exploring karting's family tree

It’s commonly defined by professional racing drivers as the purest form of motorsport. It’s...

Rallying News

Kelly to make surprise Killarney return

Manus Kelly will make a surprise visit to the International Rally of the Lakes in Killarney...

Rallying News

Rally GB to unveil major route revamp

A significantly different route for Rally GB 2018, Britain's World Rally Championship round,...

Rallying News

Rovanpera hospitalised after Argentina crash

Kalle Rovanpera was hospitalised for checks after crashing out of the Rally Argentina WRC2 lead...

Rallying News

Ford sets out conditions for works RX return

Ford wants to see how the future of rallycross develops amid changes in America and plans for...

Racing News

Ingram takes victory in Donington Race 2

Tom Ingram became the first two-time winner in this season's British Touring Car Championship...

Racing News

Cook claims maiden BTCC victory

Josh Cook has broken his victory duck in the British Touring Car Championship, taking his Power...

Racing News

Cook takes first BTCC pole at Donington Park

Josh Cook has taken his maiden British Touring Car Championship pole position after heading...

1 2 3 52

More national news, in-depth race reports and analysis. Subscribe to the Motorsport News paper today.

What’s On

This weekend

No Events


No Events

This weekend

No Events


No Events