Race driver tells of 212kmh crash

21:07, May 29 2014
Andrew Duffin
CRASH SITE: Buckland race driver Andrew Duffin, flanked by St John Franklin’s Shirlene Edwards Hirst and Grant Hirst, on Pukekohe Park Raceway where his Nissan Silvia came to a stop after a mechanical failure caused him to crash while driving 212kmh.

A Buckland race driver has joined St John Ambulance officers at Pukekohe Park Raceway to relive the events which led him to crashing on the front straight last month.

Andrew Duffin, who has been racing for 15 years, had just completed the first lap of the final race of the GT class, a support class for the V8 Supercars. He was travelling at 212kmh when his car had a mechanical failure.

"We are still not sure exactly what it was but something broke suspension-wise as I was coming down the front straight past the grandstand and it just turned me right," Duffin said.

Andrew Duffin
Andrew Duffin

He was in fourth place when the crash happened.

"[The car] hit the inside wall and then that spat me straight across to the outside wall."

When the car came to a stop, Duffin knew it was bad. 



"The engine was still smouldering and looked like it was going to catch fire because it took the bonnet and guards off the car.

"I looked through the windscreen and I could see all the heat and smoke coming off the engine and then all of a sudden a guy popped up next to me."

That guy was St John Ambulance's Grant Hirst who, along with Tony Robinson, Shirlene Edwards Hirst and Gavin Westall, helped Duffin after the crash.

"He was obviously not well," Grant Hirst said.

"He was complaining about his arm more than anything but it was reasonably obvious that there were other things happening.

"From our medical point of view, we were worried about his neck and back and that took a bit of time to stabilise before we took him out [of the car]."

Duffin said he was in shock and Hirst had calmed him down.

"They did a fantastic job and everything just slowed right down," Duffin said.

"They were not concerned about anything but taking me out of the car safely."

The Westpac rescue helicopter took him to Middlemore Hospital where he spent a week recovering from his long list of injuries.

"I had a fractured right wrist, which now has a titanium plate and six screws holding it together, three broken ribs, a punctured lung and large laceration on my right knee."

Standing on the track for the first time since the accident and looking at the three sections of its walls which still bear the scars of the crash, Duffin said he was lucky it was not worse.

"I had all my safety gear on and that saved me from a lot of injuries."

The crash happen so quickly he had had no time to think about it.

"It all happened so fast all I remember is braking like I normally do for the first corner and then it just got out of control.

"All I was trying to do was get the car back to where it should be and by the time I did that, it was in the fence."

Looking at the track again only fuelled his desire to get back out there.

"I think for my own piece of mind I have to get back [racing]," he said.

"I honestly do not know what will happen when I get in there and whether I will feel like I can do that at that speed anymore but I have to give it a go."

For now he was focused on recovering from his injuries and ensuring the St John officers knew how thankful he was.

"They were fantastic, they did an amazing job."

Waikato Times