When you crash in real life, there’s no reset button

Ka-rash. Nik Berg

European correspondent Nik Berg has been competing in an grassroots endurance race series for the Ford Ka minicar. Follow his other EnduroKa exploits here.


“Warning. Motorsport can be DANGEROUS. Despite the organisers taking all reasonable precautions unavoidable accidents can happen. In respect of these you are present at your own risk.”

That’s what it says on the back of the pass for my first full season of circuit racing. I didn’t really pay it much heed until the middle of Silverstone’s famous Copse Corner, when a fellow racer turned in on me, crashed into the side of my car and sent us both skittering off the track.

It was, to quote a mate who works in Formula 1, “almost a carbon copy of Max and Lewis,” when the two Grand Prix rivals came together in 2021—albeit at around half their speed.

A Formula 1 car enters this flat-out right-hander at 180 mph. My caged grocery-getter, the Ford Ka, goes in at around 90. Despite being alongside the offending car on the straight, I guess its driver just didn’t see me and steered into my side. There was nothing I could do but throw in some corrective lock and stand on the brakes as we pirouetted in unison. It was the first time since switching from sim racing online that it occurred to me just how “real” things can get.

Fortunately, Silverstone has a huge run-off area and I was back facing the right way in seconds. I glanced over at the other driver, who was already making his way out of the gravel and got going again.

This was my first ever “racing incident.” All I could think of was how I’d let my team down. The EnduroKA series, as the name suggests, is all about endurance; I was the last of four to drive, out for the final hour or so of a five-hour event at the home of the British Grand Prix. I simply needed to bring it home.

My teammates had done a cracking job. I’d qualified us in the mid-twenties out of a pack of 41 cars, just tenths of a second away from the top ten. Then Nick Creed started the race and worked his way through to an amazing eighth place. His sister Natalie Knowles took us to seventh before a fuel and tire stop dropped us back. Then Tim Parsons took over for a solid drive that maintained position just outside the top 20.

I was fueled to the end and determined to claw back some places, but within 15 minutes I was limping back to the pits with damage. The front tires were flat-spotted, the wing bent, although the suspension and brakes were intact so I was sent out again with a pair of badly worn boots and the red mist descending.

I’d like to be able to report a fairytale ending, like when Lewis Hamilton came back from his Copse collision to take victory. But despite driving my heart out, recording our team’s fastest laps, and not once being overtaken on track, we finished 27th after having to make an unexpected fuel stop.

EnduroKA action Silverstone 2
Lewis Warren

It could, of course, have been much worse. I was deemed not at fault while the other car in the accident was given a penalty. The damage to our car was superficial, and most important, nobody was hurt.

There are five more races to go this season, with the longest running to a full 12 hours, and we’re learning something new every time we head out. It’s exciting that as a team we seem to have got pace to run in the top ten. We pushed our tire pressures up and gained both speed and durability, our new pit-to-car radio system worked brilliantly, and our driver changes were slick and fast.

It’s a big step forward from our first race last year. We know where we need to improve—not crashing would certainly help—and that’s what we’ll be seeking to do on the tight and twisty Cadwell Park in June.

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    I used to pit for a guy whose car had way more dented metal than straight. When he’d crunch or get crunched, he’d come back in grinning and shout, “That’s racing!” I always loved his attitude – he was having the time of his life on that track, and NOTHING was going to take that smile away.

    Ya, “rubbing is not racing” despite the NASCAR good old boy attitude.
    Racing is 2 of you side by side sliding thru a corner at speed and not so much as a tire donut on either car.
    It’s 100+mph bump drafting down the straight, unhooking for the corners and re-engaging the next straight or swapping positions cleanly without slowing either of you down and letting the guys behind catch up.
    It’s side by side braking going into a corner and the other car blinks first, backs out and you get the corner without contact!

    Sometimes stuff happens, you’re right along side the other car and the idiot turns into you. Sometimes you get alonside or almost, and then back out for a better shot next lap or next corner because you may mot be sure A) he sees you there or B) they are idiots anyway.

    Racing is not “rubbin”

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