COMING DOWN: Gladstone’s Tony Frew took to the air in the Formula 500 before an uncomfortable landing on the Showgrounds track on Saturday.
COMING DOWN: Gladstone’s Tony Frew took to the air in the Formula 500 before an uncomfortable landing on the Showgrounds track on Saturday. Chris Ison

Car airborne in race accident

ORGANISERS admit speedway can be a dangerous sport, but limit those dangers with the safety regulations they have in place.

On Saturday night Gladstone racer Tony Frew was thankful the regulations were so stringent when he was at the centre of a spectacular crash in the Formula 500 event at the Rockhampton Showgrounds.

He was racing in his first heat of the night. The field had been brought back twice from false starts and on the third attempt to get under way the drivers approached the start line with caution.

Once they hit the line, however, there was mayhem as vehicles from the rear sped for a gap.

Frew was the unlucky driver as he appeared to hit another car which sent his tiny machine airborne before it bounced down the track, rolled several times and stopped.

The race was immediately brought to a red-light standstill and emergency workers were with him in seconds.

For almost 45 minutes the crew worked, first dismantling pieces of the car, to reach the driver.

Eventually he was freed and carefully loaded into a waiting ambulance while the crowd feared the worst.

Miraculously Frew, who had an overnight hospital stop, had suffered no broken bones.

Secretary of Gladstone Formula 500 Club Tony Schmidt said he worked with the emergency crew to free Frew and at the time thought the driver had broken an arm.

“He was released from hospital this morning (Sunday),” he said.

“He is a little bit shook up and has bumps and bruises.”

Frew’s vehicle fared even worse and appeared to be in a very sorry state when it left the track on the back of a tow truck, one wheel at right angles to its correct position and with only Frew’s “number 6” identifying the rubble as a racing machine.



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