The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Top Gear’s Ham­mond in fire­ball car hor­ror

New car hor­ror for Richard Ham­mond...but he pulls him­self from smash de­scribed by Clark­son as ‘most fright­en­ing I’ve ever seen’

- By Jonathan Bucks Ad­di­tional re­port­ing: Al­lan Hall and Alexan­dra Wil­liams

FOR­MER Top Gear star Richard Ham­mond cheated death yes­ter­day af­ter a dra­matic high-speed car crash in Switzer­land.

Hor­ri­fy­ing footage cap­tured the mo­ment the dare­devil TV pre­sen­ter’s £2 mil­lion elec­tric su­per­car swerved off a road be­fore rolling down a hill and burst­ing into flames dur­ing film­ing for his TV show The Grand Tour 2.

In­cred­i­bly, Ham­mond, 47, was able to pull him­self from the wreck­age be­fore the car caught fire. He was air­lifted to hos­pi­tal with a frac­tured knee.

It is the sec­ond time Ham­mond has es­caped from a ter­ri­fy­ing crash. He was in a coma for two weeks in Septem­ber 2006 af­ter the jet-pow­ered Vam­pire car he was driv­ing for Top Gear at 288mph suf­fered a burst tyre dur­ing a land-speed record at­tempt.

Of yes­ter­day’s ac­ci­dent, co-pre­sen­ter Jeremy Clark­son tweeted: ‘It was the big­gest crash I’ve ever seen and the most fright­en­ing but in­cred­i­bly, and thank­fully, Richard seems to be mostly OK.’

The show’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Andy Wil­man told how Clark­son and fel­low pre­sen­ter James May raced to­wards the scene of the crash, con­vinced that Ham­mond was dead.

‘They were stag­gered that he had got out alive be­cause there was just noth­ing left. If Richard had been a few sec­onds slower get­ting out, he would have been in­cin­er­ated.’

Last month, af­ter be­ing knocked out in a mo­tor­bike ac­ci­dent while film­ing in Africa, Ham­mond swore never to take part in any more dan­ger­ous stunts for the sake of his ‘beau­ti­ful’ wife and two teenage daugh­ters. ‘I’m not go­ing to risk leav­ing them,’ he said.

The fa­ther-of-two was driv­ing the white Ri­mac su­per­car around the Hem­berg Hill Climb in the pretty vil­lage of St Gallen in north­ern Switzer­land for his Ama­zon Prime show when the hor­ri­fy­ing ac­ci­dent hap­pened yes­ter­day.

Pho­to­graphs from the scene showed the flipped car in flames by the side of a road be­fore the blaze was ex­tin­guished by fire­fight­ers, leav­ing it a burnt-out hulk.

Tri­als were be­ing held on a closed sec­tion of moun­tain road ahead of the race to­day.

There were re­ports that Ham­mond, May and Clark­son had driven the track three times in dif­fer­ent cars be­fore the crash.

Mr Ham­mond was pic­tured last Thurs­day charg­ing the Croa­t­ian-made car, with May at the wheel. He was also seen ear­lier yes­ter­day film­ing in the town of Toggen­burg, be­fore mak­ing train­ing runs for the moun­tain race which, ac­cord­ing to spokesman Marco Moser, will go ahead as planned to­day.

A spokesman for The Grand Tour said: ‘Richard Ham­mond very for­tu­nately suf­fered no se­ri­ous in­jury. No­body else was in the car or in­volved in the ac­ci­dent. The cause is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.’

A source close to the pre­sen­ter – who lives in a cas­tle in Ross-on-Wye, Here­ford­shire, with wife Amanda, 46, and daugh­ters Izzy, 16, and Wil­low, 13 – said: ‘Richard has a frac­tured knee. But he’s go­ing to be fine. He’s very lucky.’

‘They were stag­gered that he got out alive’

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TER­RI­FY­ING: Richard Ham­mond, inset below left, es­caped the over­turned su­per­car be­fore it burst into flames, re­duc­ing it to a charred hulk, left
YES­TER­DAY TER­RI­FY­ING: Richard Ham­mond, inset below left, es­caped the over­turned su­per­car be­fore it burst into flames, re­duc­ing it to a charred hulk, left
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