Record bid driver in 170mph crash horror

A DISABLED racing driver is seriously ill in hospital after he crashed his specially adapted car at more than 170 mph while trying to break a land speed record.

Roddy Ashworth

A DISABLED racing driver is seriously ill in hospital after he crashed his specially adapted car at more than 170 mph while trying to break a land speed record.

David Edwards, an insurance broker for Lloyds, was airlifted to hospital after being cut from the wreckage of his vehicle at a former airfield in Essex.

He was attempting to break the British land speed record for naturally aspirated wheel driven cars at Wethersfield, near Braintree.

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But during the attempt at about 3pm on Wednesday, his car careered off the test track and crashed, leaving him trapped inside. It is thought he was travelling at about 180mph when the accident happened.

Three fire crews raced to the scene and used hydraulic cutting equipment to set him free.

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Mr Edwards was airlifted to Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge after he suffered head injuries, broke both his arms and one of his legs. His condition was last night said to be “serious”.

Amanda Goodchild, PR for his “Mission: It's Possible” record attempt, confirmed the racing driver had been in a crash.

Mr Edwards announced earlier this year he planned to make British land speed history in a specially adapted 200mph car.

The father-of-three has been a wheelchair user since 1993 when he suffered a spinal injury in a car crash.

The racer, who is trustee of charity Aspire, hoped to set a number of UK speed records as part of a charity fundraiser, The “Mission: It's Possible” campaign.

A spokeswoman for Aspire said Mr Edwards was in a stable condition at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and was “recovering well”.

The spokeswoman added: “He was trying to set a number of different speed records over a mile.

“I don't know what speed he was doing when he crashed but he was attempting to go at more than 200mph.”

Aspire said Mr Edwards was a “role model” who aimed to show that disabled people could lead “fulfilled” lives.

“Our support for David's speed record attempt was absolutely in line with the charity's commitment to ensuring that those who have sustained spinal cord injuries can lead independent and fulfilled lives,” the spokeswoman said.

“David's passion before his injury was racing cars. His determination to return to that after his injury exemplifies Aspire's can-do attitude.

“The charity firmly believes that life doesn't end when you sustain a spinal cord injury - there should be no can'ts afterwards.

“David embodies that spirit and is a role model to many involved with the charity and other disabled people.”

Police said Mr Edwards was driving at a former air base on land owned by the Ministry of Defence and an investigation was under way.

Speaking before the crash about the accident which left him disabled, he said: “I was rushing to work, with an important placing to complete. I put my foot down, overtook a car, and found myself beneath a skip lorry.

“ I was airlifted to Stanmore with a broken neck and have been in a wheelchair ever since.”

Mr Edwards confounded doctors to be discharged in just three months - half the normal recovery time.

He said: “It was a difficult time. I needed to get home … I had a business to run.”

At the time trial Mr Edwards driving a specially-adapted 1970s Can-Am Lola T222 car, which he could operate using only his hands.

The alterations made to this car were designed by former F1 engineer, Dr John Davis and engineered in conjunction with Scott Racing Services.

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