SPRINGVALE, Australia – A massive opening-lap accident involving Wilson Security Racing GRM’s James Golding produced the first race suspension in the history of the Wilson Security Sandown 500 on Sunday.
Heading down the backstretch towards turn six on the opening lap, Golding – who won the Dunlop Series event earlier in the program – lost a right front tire and careened at 150 kilometers per hour into the outside tire wall at turn six, slamming the barrier and seeing his Volvo stand on its nose before coming to rest in the grass on all four wheels.
The heavy impact produced a red flag on lap three, following two circuits behind the Safety Car.
Despite the harrowing crash, Golding emerged from the mangled car under his own power and was able to walk away.
Once he returned to the garage area, he spoke in more detail about the crash.
“I’m all good, but that was the biggest accident I’ve ever had,” a visibly disappointed Golding said. “I feel really lucky to still be here, but I’m just disappointed for the entire team. This is the stuff we live for as drivers and to be out of a big race like this one so quickly is really unfortunate.”
“The right front tire started losing pressure down the backstretch, and then as soon as I hit the brakes it just locked straightaway and went straight on in (to the wall). At that point I was basically a passenger from then on. I’m disappointed, but we’ll just move on to Bathurst and try for a better run there.”
The apparent contact that caused the puncture in Golding’s tire looked to have come off the side of ack Perkins’ Holden Racing Team Commodore after a scramble in the first corners – caused by a less-than-stellar start, according to Golding.
“I didn’t get the greatest start … and then had the shuffle there. Heading up the backstretch everything was normal, and then red lights and straight through. I was just trying to stay alive.”
“It was really sudden,” Golding added of the impact. “It happened so quickly that I couldn’t really think before it happened. I had a bit of headspin (at first) but once that stopped I felt ok.”
Primary driver James Moffat did not get to take a lap in the car, but was relived that Golding escaped injury in the shunt.
“It looked like he was in the middle going into turn one, and there was a little bit of contact – but I’m just happy he’s out and looks okay because that was a pretty nasty shunt,” Moffat said. “As long as he’s ok that’s the main thing.”
Team owner Garry Rogers also weighed in on the crash after his driver climbed out under his own power.
“He thought it [the tire] was fine; we were uncertain but he said it felt ok,” Rogers said. “It could’ve well been the tire was deflating. We’ll get the evidence and make sure we’re right, but what’s done is done.”
“The fact is that what we do (racing) carries an element of this sort of thing happening. You just have to get on with it, fix it and get to the next race meeting and do a better job.”
The incident sparked a stoppage of 26 minutes for repairs to the turns six and seven tire barrier before the resumption of racing conditions.
At the green flag restart on lap seven, outside polesitter Warren Luff was the leader over David Wall.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
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