Richard Hammond crashes Vampire drag car in 2006
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Richard Hammond, 52, left his fans shocked as he revealed he’s done the one thing he said he’d never do – get back in the car that almost killed him. The Grand Tour presenter has suffered numerous crashes over the years, but the Vampire Dragster accident is considered the worst.
You look in better shape the last time I saw you anyway
On the 20th of September 2006, Richard was seriously injured while filming an episode of Top Gear at the former RAF Elvington airfield near York.
He was driving the Vampire, a jet-powered car, which was said to be capable of travelling up to 370mph, but his front-right tyre failed unexpectedly and caused it to lose control before rolling over to its demise.
At the point of blow out, Richard was travelling at 288mph but upon initial impact had slowed to 232mph, mainly as a result of the roll cage digging into the ground and the top his helmet being dragged across the surface.
It has been speculated that if he was any taller, he would have been decapitated.
As rescuers turned the car upright and cut an unconscious Richard free, he was put in a neck brace and placed on a stretcher before the air ambulance arrived.
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Doctors treating him announced that he had a “significant brain injury” following the crash.
After he almost died in the wreckage, Richard vowed to never get back in a dragster… until now.
The motoring fanatic couldn’t help himself as he geared up to drive the rebuilt Vampire for an episode of DriveTribe.
In the episode, Richard could be seen visibly shaken as he approached the vehicle for the first time since the horror accident, 15 years ago.
“Oh, this is… yeah…” he stammered, as news reports of the crash began to play.
“Hello again… you look in better shape the last time I saw you anyway.”
As he stepped into the car, he said: “Well, here goes… What’s odd is I remember the last time I got in this thing, but I don’t remember getting out.
“So technically, I’m still in it!”
But it all became a bit too much for the TV star, as he decided he couldn’t bring himself to drive it again after all.
Promoting the episode on Instagram, Richard penned: “I’ve done what I said I’d never do, and got back in the car that almost killed me.
“Watch the video on the DriveTribe YouTube channel.”
Rushing to the comments section, fans were concerned for his safety.
One wrote: “This put shivers down my spine.”
“Dude there better be a good reason,” another winced, remembering the accident well.
Others were in awe of his courage, as one penned: “Good for you bro.”
“Hey you are very brave to do that. I couldn’t have done it,” said a second.
A third praised: “Well done Richard. Huge inspiration. Fight those fears.”
“That’s awesome it’s not easy for some people to be around something that almost killed them. Good for you Richard,” a fourth applauded.
Whereas there were users that made some light-hearted jokes, referencing his numerous crashes.
Someone pointed out: “Which car that almost killed you? There’s a couple.”
“You’re going to have to be more specific!” another quipped.
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