Search

Boy, 14, back on track after horror racing crash at 58mph

PUBLISHED: 19:23 21 November 2020 | UPDATED: 19:23 21 November 2020

Ollie Handley is currently recovering after a horrific go kart accident left him with a broken leg back in March. He's hoping to be back behind the wheel when the season starts in April and continues to go from strength to strength in his recovery.
Credit:Sonya Duncan

Ollie Handley is currently recovering after a horrific go kart accident left him with a broken leg back in March. He's hoping to be back behind the wheel when the season starts in April and continues to go from strength to strength in his recovery. Credit:Sonya Duncan

(C) Archant 2020

A 14-year-old from Colchester who feared he may have lost his leg in a racing crash has got back in the driving seat less than six months on.

Ollie Handley is currently recovering after a horrific go kart accident left him with a broken leg back in March. He's hoping to be back behind the wheel when the season starts in April and continues to go from strength to strength in his recovery.
Credit:Sonya DuncanOllie Handley is currently recovering after a horrific go kart accident left him with a broken leg back in March. He's hoping to be back behind the wheel when the season starts in April and continues to go from strength to strength in his recovery. Credit:Sonya Duncan

Racing prodigy Ollie Handley, who was one of nine young drivers from across Europe to be signed by McLaren to their DNA program, was involved in the crash back in March – just two weeks before he was due to compete in the Junior Saloon Car Championship.

Ollie was racing at Red Lodge Karting on Saturday, March 7 when his kart came off the track after avoiding another accident, hitting a tyre wall at 58mph. He was thrown up in a spiral motion and his right foot became stuck under the accelerator pedal.

“I felt it snap,” said Ollie. “It didn’t hurt as the adrenaline took over, but I have never broken a bone before so I didn’t know how bad it was. “But when they called the air ambulance I knew it was bad.”

Ollie’s dad Neil Handley, said the first thing on his son’s mind was whether he would lose his leg – and then it was the question of when he would be able to ride again, having raced since he was just eight years old.

14-year-old Ollie Handley, from Colchester, has made an incredible recovery after he crashed into a tyre wall at 58mph when he was avoiding another accident. Picture: SPROCKET PHOTOGRAPHY14-year-old Ollie Handley, from Colchester, has made an incredible recovery after he crashed into a tyre wall at 58mph when he was avoiding another accident. Picture: SPROCKET PHOTOGRAPHY

Steve Murrow, a paramedic from the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS), was at the course that day and administered immediate treatment while also mobilising the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA), for additional support with the potentially life-threatening injury.

The Anglia Two team, based at Cambridge Airport, were just four minutes away, so pilots Martin Polding and Hal Erikson landed the helicopter at the track and Dr Abilius Wong and HEMS Paramedic David Killingback quickly got to Ollie to assess him.

It took over an hour to safely move Ollie, during which time the EAAA team administered a very strong sedative to ease his pain. However, Ollie remained incredibly brave and calm the whole time. Once his leg had been protected and packaged up, he was flown to West Suffolk Hospital.

Xrays showed he had badly broken his femur in three places and that it was a spiral break, which is difficult to fix. He needed to have titanium rods and fixtures inserted along the bone to support it – spending more than six hours in surgery – with the surgeon saying it was one of the worst spiral breaks she had seen.

Emergency services at the scene of Ollie's accident back in March. Picture: SPROCKET PHOTOGRAPHYEmergency services at the scene of Ollie's accident back in March. Picture: SPROCKET PHOTOGRAPHY

Ollie has been working every day with physio teams to get up and walking again so that he can race as soon as possible. And he has already surpassed the surgeon’s expectations.

By August he was walking well with crutches and getting close to walking unaided. He has also been keen to get back behind the wheel and just a few weeks ago, in October, he got back behind the wheel of his Citroen Saxo Saloon Car for a day’s testing.

Ollie plans to carry on racing karts alongside saloon cars in 2021 and said: “In hindsight it could have been a lot worse. But now I can pretty much do everything as normal, so I am excited to get back racing for the start of the season in April. I really appreciate all the work the air ambulance crews do and hope to be able to fundraise for them in the future to say thank you for treating me and flying me to hospital.”

Neil Handley, Ollie’s dad, added: “It’s been such a tough year for Ollie, breaking his leg and then being stuck at home throughout the lockdown, but he’s put his time to good use and really concentrated on getting walking again.

Ollie was flown to West Suffolk Hospital after the accident in Red Lodge in March. Picture: NEIL HANDLEYOllie was flown to West Suffolk Hospital after the accident in Red Lodge in March. Picture: NEIL HANDLEY

“The crash has certainly not put him off racing.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ipswich Star