Jamie Whitham Column - Nov 2004

Getting tickets for a race ain;t easy in Whit's world

I went to see Simmo racing at Donington one year. He hadn't left a pass for me at the gate, so after I'd blagged my way in I made a beeline for his truck; an old Mercedes 608 thing, bikes in the back and living area in the front. I started into him, "Where's me bloody tickets?"

I saw this look on his face and he said, "Er, we had a bit of a disaster last night..." Turns out they'd all been for a meal and some drinks. Bill, Simmo's Dad, had been divorced a couple of years, and copped off with this woman, leaving the lads to head back to the van on their own, the mechanics pissed as farts and Simmo sober.

Simmo always got the best spot with a bed slung across the front seats. The rest made do with pull-down bunks and the last place to sleep was on the floor in the middle of the van. The lad in the top bunk was called Frazer, an archetypal big, strong, red-headed Scotsman.

Bill came back in the early hours and never even woke the others, taking to the floor in his sleeping bag.Sometime later Simmo heard a thump from the back, and some shuffling like someone turning over and rocking the van. Then he heard this whimper: "Help, I'm stuck. It's my ribs..."Simmo thought the lads were pissing about so he put his pants on and climbed into the back.

It became clear what had happened.

Frazer, all pissed-up 16 stones of him, rolled over in his sleep, fell out of the six-foot high bunk and landed on Bill! Frazer was so pissed he never woke up, sprawled out over nine-stone Bill. He'd actually broken Bill's collarbone and severely bruised his ribs!

Bill were in some distress, and Simmo thought he'd maybe punctured a lung, so he sat Bill up and shot out the van to call an ambulance, outlining the severity of injury and the need for urgency.

The ambulance arrived, with Simmo saying "Hurry up! He's in terrible pain, I think he might have punctured a lung."

They screeched to a halt, Simmo threw the sliding side door open, and there was Bill and the lads, all snoring their heads off! They had to wake Bill up to get him into the ambulance! Some disaster - and they still forgot me tickets!

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