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Bad smash won’t stop speedway veteran

Friday, 25th March, 2016

Rob Tumes walked away from a bad crash at the Speedway last Saturday night. PICTURE: Patrick Reincke Rob Tumes walked away from a bad crash at the Speedway last Saturday night. PICTURE: Patrick Reincke

By Patrick Reincke

A Broken Hill Speedway star involved in a terrifying crash on Saturday night says his protective clothing “saved his neck”.

Rob Tumes broke seven ribs and a collar bone, and punctured a lung, after crashing in his first heat of the night.

Rob told the BDT that it was all the result of a simple mistake.

“I went out on Saturday night and practiced early to get a feel for it and get a gauge of my speed against the other guys,” he said.

“I was happy with everything; I got a good start in the first heat.

“But for probably the first time in my life, I didn’t really push for the lead. I wasn’t that hungry to lead the first race, I wouldn’t have cared if I was back a bit.

“I was planning to slowly build up my speed and have a crack in the final.”

Rob said that when the pack hit the first corner, things went pear-shaped.

“I got the start and the fellow showed me wheel on the inside and rather than try and race, I just backed off a little bit where as normally I’d power on,” he said.

“That made me run just a tiny bit wide and, of course, I was coming into the path of another rider then.

“I just momentarily froze, I’m happy to admit it. They tell me it happens but it’s never really happened to me.

“I hesitated and at that speed and everything, if you hesitate for a micro second, it’s too long.

“I crashed heavily on my head but this is why I wear lots and lots of safety equipment, I can’t stress that enough.

“I was also wearing a really special carbon fibre neck brace in conjunction with shoulder guards and although it’s broken my first rib which is hard to do and my collar bone, it saved my neck.”

After taking the tumble, Rob said the pain was excruciating.

“They were trying to communicate with me to see if I was okay and I just lost my voice, I couldn’t talk.

“I knew I had broken a fair bit of stuff, I could feel it crunching and grinding around.

“I was in the ambulance only for a few minutes, but some blood started to clot in my lung and made its way up and started to choke me.

“That was a little bit scary because I had to go through a lot of pain to cough it out!”

Rob was put into Intensive Care over the weekend but good progress over the past few days has seen him arrive home.

He has extensive bruising around his torso and hip to go with broken bones but at 50 years of age, Rob’s love of motorbikes has him considering coming back to the sport.

“I think I will; my wife’s not really keen on it,” he said.

“I’ll probably take several months off.

“I think I’ll concentrate on recovering, getting fit and strong and maybe just come back and ride a bit of fun stuff rather than trying to race the young ones.

“I’ve only ever raced bikes, it’s what I love doing.”

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