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Driver's miracle escape from Shelsey crash
Updated 1:43pm Monday 2nd June 2014 in News
A RACING driver had a miracle escape after he flipped his car off a track at over 120mph before somersaulting twice in the air and landing sideways in a ditch.
Wallace Menzies, aged 42, incredibly walked away from the mangled wreckage with just cuts and bruises and a broken cheek bone following the horror crash on Sunday.
He had been competing in the century-old Shelsey Walsh hillclimb race when he lost control of his DJ Firestorm car on a bend at around 3.15pm.
Spectators watched on in horror as the vehicle careered off the closed public road and struck a high verge to driver's right.
As he lost control the bank sent the car flying through the air, flipping it twice before ploughing into the side of the steep hillside.
Wallace was left precariously balanced in the wreck of his hillclimb car for over 45 minutes as race marhalls and medics battled to free him and take him to hospital.
Amazingly, he was discharged just a few hours later having suffered a broken cheek bone, cuts to his face and bruised shoulders.
Race fan Tim Mason, from Malvern, who managed to photograph the crash, said the entire audience held their breath as the car left the road.
The 43-year-old IT Consultant, who was at the event with his five-year-old son Ben, said: "I've been going to Shelsley since I was a kid, and now my son is mad about cars he loves coming with me.
"I've seen quite a few crashes in my time there, but never, ever, anything like this one.
"Thank God he was in a modern race car with a safety tested carbon fibre tub, or I really don't think he would be with us now.
"My son was watching the speed trap they have just before the corner and reading out the speeds and the car before him was doing 136mph.
"I think he must have been doing 125mph at least when he left the road.
"He just lost control and hit the bank, that sent the car into the air and he just somersaulted down the road.
"When he came to a rest the marshals were there straight away, but it still took an age to get him out.
"We all held our breath I think, and when they eventually got him out and he put a thumb up above the blankets everyone was so relieved.
"I just happened to have my shutter open when the crash happened."
Wallace, who currently sits fifth in the British Hillclimb Championship, had been racing at the historic Shelsley Walsh event.
The race, which snakes 1000 yards (914m) up a Worcestershire hillside, is the oldest hillclimb event in the world having run continuously since 1905.
Specially tuned cars speed up the steep course hitting speeds of up to 140mph just inches from trees and steep drops.
Yesterday Wallace's relieved wife posted to an online forum for hillclimb racers that her husband had left hospital on Sunday night.
They were making their way back to their home in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, to already prepare for Wallace's next race in the Scottish village of Doune.
She wrote: "We left the hospital in the early hours of this morning. Wallace is OK apart from a broken cheek bone, facial cut and bruising to his face and shoulders.
"Could have been a lot worse. We stayed at Mike and Kath Halls and will make the journey north today.
"I am sure he'll make a speedy recovery and will be ready for Doune.
"A huge thanks to the rescue crew, marshals and everyone who helped or offered help, greatly appreciated. Xx"
A spokesman for the Midland Automobile Club, which runs the hillclimb, said: "Following Wallace Menzies accident on Sunday we are pleased to report he was released from hospital in the early hours of the morning.
"He had four stitches, a cracked cheekbone and bruising but was in good spirits saying he felt like he had been in a rough game of rugby and asking for his money back.
"He would like to thank the marshals and medics for their swift actions and hopes to be back on the track for the next round at Doune."