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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Race driver Trent Clare in critical condition at RAH after crash at Lake Gairdner

Race driver Trent Clare in critical condition at RAH after crash at Lake Gairdner ANDREW HOUGH The Advertiser March 25, 2015 7:00PM Trent Clare (second from left) at Lake Gairdner last year with family relatives including from left, father Colin, brother Blake and uncle Trevor and their 1993 Streamliner fast car. TRENT Clare loves cars, motor racing and going fast. Every year he and members of his family join hundreds of other drivers at a remote salt lake in the state’s far north for a land speed event in an area known as the Last Fast Place. But Mr Clare, 26, of Broken Hill, was fighting for life on Wednesday night after he rolled his specially-built bright orange 1993 Streamliner fast car during a high-speed crash while trying to reach 322km/h (200mph). Witnesses told how the racer, also a successful rally car driver and motocross rider, rolled his car several times while attempting a land speed record for his car type along nine miles of salt flats. The accident at the annual Speed Week occurred at 530pm on Tuesday at the southern end of Lake Gairdner National Park, 150km northwest of Port Augusta, in cool, but fine, conditions. His distraught father, Colin, brother, Blake, and uncle, Trevor — who held his own speed record — watched in horror as paramedics, and an off-duty doctor, treated him at the scene before he was flown to the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Trent Clare, who has been involved in a car at Lake Gairdner while trying to set a land-speed record. Racing was immediately suspended and the track remained closed for much of Wednesday amid fears water, wind and a build-up of salt on the lake’s outskirts had triggered dangerous conditions. Local traffic police from the Moomba Highway patrol are investigating and have been liaising with the Adelaide-based major crash unit. Mr Clare was on Wednesday night in a critical, but stable, condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit as his family, including father, mother, Paula, brother and girlfriend Becky Townsend, maintained a bedside vigil. CLARE BROTHERS AT SPEEDWEEK The family, who operate Clare Brothers Racing and have been involved in motorsport for decades, were too distressed to publicly comment. The first major crash in the past few years has left Broken Hill residents shocked and locals have rallied around the family, also successful farmers. Friends told The Advertiser how the builder, whose personal racing best was 251km/h at the outback event, had developed a passion for racing in the past few years. Video online showed him racing in 2013. “He is just a normal fun-loving bloke — everyone loves him,” said one. “He is a very good driver and he just loved heading up to the lake. It was one of his favourite things.” Another added: “Everyone up here is in a bit of shock. We are all praying that he pulls through.” Organisers hope to restart today the competition, which attracts more than 1000 people, after police interviews. Dry Lake Racing Association officials say the cold conditions helped with fast racing as it prevents car engines from overheating. An event spokesman described Mr Clare as a “popular” competitor and a “good guy”. Speed Week, which is celebrating its 25 anniversary, continues until Friday.

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