David Campling recalls frightening accident on the PokerStars shakedown

David Campling and co-driver James Ducker will make a full recovery after a frightening accident on the shakedown stage of the PokerStars Rally, which saw their DCC Logistics Škoda Fabia R5 leave the road, hit a bank and somersault into a field.

They arrived on the Isle of Man having finished second in the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship R5 class on the Hills Ford Three Shires – a result which had shot David up to 18th in the overall drivers’ standings.

And as David explains, the shakedown stage was where their PokerStars Rally, and indeed their 2021 season, came to a spectacular end.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have much memory of the accident,” says David.

“I can remember approaching the crest and the next thing I remember is a spectator helping me out of the car. 

“Jim remembers the accident and looking at the data from the car I braked, the wheels have locked, I have come off the brakes and back on, but they have locked again but by this time the accident was probably inevitable. Basically it looks like I just braked too late on a surface that was a lot more slippery than it looked. 

“Jim has fractured three vertebrae but is mobile and should make a full recovery, but he is in quite a lot of pain and discomfort at the moment. I have a closed rib fracture, some monster bruises down my left side and after effects of concussion.

“For the size of the accident the car has come off very well with no real structural damage to the shell and mechanical damage looks like a wheel, brake disc and a suspension arm. As Jim and I do all the work on the car ourselves it is still in the truck so haven’t been able to fully assess the damage and neither of us will be fit to work on it for a while.

“I think that we we’re able to come out of that accident is a testament to the strength of these modern cars and the thought that has gone into the safety equipment that is in them.

“Unfortunately, due to our injuries neither of us would be fit to do Cheviot even if the car was fixed in time. That will be it for this year for us. 

“We have been competing on rallies together for seventeen years, it is uncomfortable knowing my mistake has injured a friend, but Jim says we both know the risks when we get in the car.

“We have had loads of messages from people in the rally family from all over Europe checking up on how we are and asking if we need any help and I would like to thank all the people who helped us at the scene of the accident, especially the spectators who were first with us. Rachael McCullough from car 111, who I understand helped Jim, and the gentleman who helped me get out of the car as my left foot was trapped between the brake and accelerator pedals, the rally rescue crew from Emmu Rescue and the ambulance and hospital staff. Then Pete Kettle, Nicky Waterston, Steve McCleery, Paul English, David Wood and everyone else for all the support and help after the accident.”

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