By LAWRENCE MACHADO
Not even being hit by a kangaroo in a freak accident while driving his kart at 80kph on a racing track is enough to make Nick Follows think twice about his chosen sport.
He had a miraculous escape on Mother’s Day (May 9) at the Lithgow City Raceway when an adult kangaroo smashed into his kart during the final, forcing the 14-year-old’s neck and back to go backwards.
Remarkably, the Kenthurst driver’s major accident has hardly dented his desire to become a professional driver and he plans to compete at The Karting NSW State Championships in October.
“I am thinking of racing as a career and I have no fears about returning to the track,” said Dent Nick, a North Shore Kart Club member and student at Oakhill College, Castle Hill, where he plays rugby union.
Nick was knocked unconscious from the accident as his dad Stewart and trackside medics raced to the scene to treat him seconds after the accident.
His Mum Lisa was initially unable to see whose kart was hit by the kangaroo but when she did, she was in shock before dashing to check on her youngest child.
Nick was treated by paramedics and transported by a CareFlight chopper to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead where he spent three days.
“I am very lucky not to get any major injuries because my spine and neck are all good though I broke two fingers on my left hand,” Nick said.
“Witnesses say as we turned the first corner, the roo missed the leading driver and was then directly in front of me, and I had no way to go.
I cannot remember the impact but I can remember parts of sitting in the kart after, with all the activity around me; when I arrived at the hospital, I started to understand more of what was going on.”
Lisa said she never expected her Mother’s Day to end traumatically. “I had no idea when I woke up that Sunday, that I would be on a helicopter with my son, being transported to the hospital.
It was very emotional and I keep going over and over again of the chances of the kangaroo being in front of Nicholas at that time, as the odds are more than a million to one. The emergency services officers were amazing, everyone was so calm and quick.
The paramedics, CareFlight crew, the doctors and nurses at the hospital, and everyone else involved at the track were absolutely fantastic.
“I have qualms of him returning to racing but what do you do when you have someone who loves his sport so much? I knew one of our three children will take after my husband because he was racing cars before we were married.”
Nick is seeking “corporate sponsors for now and the future” as a new kart will set the family back around $8000, which does not include expenses for equipment and races. He is also a more than capable mechanic and really enjoys working on and maintaining his kart, plus being able to pull it apart and assemble it again, “because I like to know how things work.
If you can help Nick, contact: [email protected]