Tameside dad fractures spine in charity car stunt gone wrong
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A motor-mad Greater Manchester dad was left with a fractured spine after a failed charity stunt saw his vehicle slam into a group of cars and smashed onto the ground.
Callum McHale, 24, was left in “excruciating pain” after the horrific accident at Buxton Raceway last week where he attempted to impress his son by jumping roughly 80 ft (24m).
Shocking footage of the incident shows Callum, from Mossley, Tameside, circling the oval racetrack in his Ford Focus before launching off a ramp and ploughing into the stationary cars below.
The fabricator admitted he was “terrified” before the jump but wanted to show his two-year-old boy “what Daddy can do on track” and raise money for charity.
After landing 15ft (4.5m) short, he spent 10 days in hospital where he said he felt as though he’d “failed his family” and now plans to hang up his racing gloves for good.
He said: “I was terrified because it’s the first time my partner and my son had seen me behind the wheel on a racetrack, and I just wanted everything to go right.
“My two-year-old son is obsessed with racing, and I just thought I’d show them what Daddy can do on track, basically, as well as raise more money for charity.
“Just before the car landed, I knew there was something wrong. I hit the ramp and I just literally had the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life.
“I have decided to not go out on a racetrack again because if anything was to happen again in the future, I’d feel really selfish.”
Callum said he had agreed to do the stunt on 2 June - four years after his first jump - to raise money for his grandparents’ foodbank charity.
He said: “I’ve always gone watching stock car racing and banger racing since I was a baby, and I’ve always been inspired to go on the other side of the track.
“When I was 19, I was going through a bit of bad time, and I just thought I’ll put all my money into it and see if I can achieve it, and I managed it.
“This was my second jump, and I’d got talking with my nan and grandad - they run their own charity - and I said I’m doing the jump again, but I’d like to choose your charity this time. It was just meant to be a good day out, watch someone do something crazy on the track, raise a bit of money and have a laugh, basically.”
Before the stunt, as he got into his race overalls, Callum admitted that he had felt extremely nervous.
He said: “To be honest, I was actually terrified.
“I was terrified more so because it’s the first time my partner and my son had seen me behind the wheel on a race track, and I just wanted everything to go right.”
Callum said he couldn’t remember what speed he was going when he rounded the final bend of the track and headed for the ramp.
He said: “I’m not sure how fast I was going to be honest.
“I just remember coming round the bend to get the car lined up and putting my foot down and seeing what the outcome would be.
“When you’ve got a stadium with people cheering you on, you want to put a show on for people and do well for the charity you’re representing.
“I suppose it’s just a case of trying to get it done and put a brave face on, really.”
Callum realised there was something badly wrong as the car became airborne, and later felt pain throughout his stomach and lower body as it crashed to the floor.
He said: “I hit the ramp and I just literally had the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life.
“I just remember everybody was clapping and cheering, and I gave the signal to the martials that I wasn’t alright.
“And then the paramedics were there in seconds because they were already on the scene.
“My girlfriend came down to the fence at the side of the track, and I just looked at her and shook my head, and she told everybody that I wasn’t alright.”
Callum couldn’t walk unassisted when he got out of his vehicle and later spent six days in hospital where doctors confirmed he had a fractured spine.
He said: “I remember lying in hospital that night, and I felt like I sort of failed my family in a way – even though they were proud of me.
“It’s just not a nice feeling when your two-year-old son is crying, asking for daddy to come home and then your girlfriend is on FaceTime, crying over the phone, not knowing the extent of the injury.”
Since the crash, Callum has agreed to never race again but said he was happy the stunt still provided £350 in charity donations for foodbank charity EndResult Community Group.
He added he was thankful to the staff at Buxton raceway who are a “brilliant team of people”.