I had a clear run down the Club straight. You stay in 4th in a TVR Tuscan, but you don't quite see the change-up light at 7400rpm in the wet. It's still almost 150mph, but the braking point for Brooklands is different. In the wet it's just before the bridge for me, in the dry just after.
There were cars to my left, but I kept right, came off the throttle and hit the footbrake. Then came the awful moment of realisation. It wasn't slowing down! And I realised the engine was still pulling. Hard. It sounded just the same as it did before I lifted off. It was jammed open.
I remembered thinking don't panic, and decided to kill the ignition. With 4 identical switches down there, turning the wipers off wasn't going to help, so I looked. It would have been quicker to kick out the clutch in retrospect, but at that speed, I wouldn't have saved the accident.
To my horror as I turned my head back, I was looking straight at the barriers. A triple layer wall of steel. It was obvious I was going to hit it. I have to say I thought I was going to die. The speed seemed incredible, but I saw gravel and hoped it might slow me down. It didn't. I knew it was going to be a massive impact.
As the car hit the barrier there was this extraordinary force. Like being in an explosion. I was still on the brake pedal, which is probably what broke my foot, but I wasn't prepared for the huge bang. The car stopped. My visor was ripped off and my face cut where the screen came in.
I wasn't aware that I'd gone through the barrier until 2 days later. As soon as it all stopped I realised I was still alive. Either that or heaven looked like Silverstone. I couldn't breathe at first, because the impact crushed my lungs. The paramedic said later that he expected to find a dead man, not one trying to take his helmet off.
All the pain was now in my legs. I looked down to see whether they were still there. It was a big shock to see that there were no pedals, just track. The chassis was there, but the front end was wiped off. When I saw David Lord's photo in the Leicester Mercury I couldn't believe it. I'd taken the bottom 2 layers out of the barrier, and the 3rd was twisted upwards - by the roll cage. That, and the strength of the chassis, saved my life.
I've always been a great believer in safety, and now I urge everybody who races sportscars to consider very seriously using full cages. I don't think you can ask for a clearer lesson! ... Silverstone's medical and rescue crews were brilliant. And TVR deserves a pat on the back for making the Tuscan so strong. ... I can't wait to be back next season.