Warracknabeal business person and reknowned speedway driver Kathryn Wilken-Jackson had the ride of her life on Saturday night at Blue Ribbon Raceway.
Wilken-Jackson is well known in speedway circles for her talent behind the wheel of her Commodore Street Stock and on Saturday night was in a position to have one of the best nights of her career.
“I had been having really good luck in the heats racing against all the boys and had made the shootout for the starting positions in the final and I was rapt just to be able to be up there”, Ms Wilken-Jackson said.
“I had a great run in the shootout and won the front row outside pole, in front of some of the best streetie drivers in the series, it was looking really good for the final”, she said.
As the cars closed up for the green flag Wilken-Jackson got a holeshote on the field and entered turn one down on the pole line, unfortunately thats where it all went wrong. “I remember the start and I got a great run from the green flag and was able to cut down to the pole line and the the next thing I remember was being upside down in the car and ut was very quiet”, she said.
Witness reports say, “that the car apparently hooked the poleline with the left front wheel and turned sideways infront of the remaining field of nine cars and was unfortunately rolled onto its roof, no one is quite sure how many time she went over”, witness Jamie Collins said.
What followed was one of the longest and most carefully orchestrated driver extractions to be done at the race track. One of the first on scene was Richard Wilken, club stalwart and Kathryn’s father, who spent most of the time half inside the car helping to comfort and stablise her as the car was righted so she could be safely removed from the car.
“One of the first things I remember is dads voice comforting me as this was my first ever rollover and I was in a bit of pain and a lot of discomfort from hanging upside down for so long”, Kathryn said. “I can’t say enough for the help of the safety crew and volunteers for getting me out of the car and credit has to go to the people that develop all our safety gear and helmets as well as the innovations in bar work and all the training our volunteers go through as that is what saves drivers from serious injury”, she said.
“I am gutted for my crew to have to go through what happened because all the work they put in to give me such a great car and this happens its just a sad way to end the night”, she said. Wilken-Jackson was transferred to the Wimmera Base hospital where she spent the night resting and apart from a very stiff neck and back and a bit of bruising is otherwise unhurt and is resting at home.
“I feel sorry for all the crew and Brendan for all the work they will have to do to put the car back togther and to dad I am sorry for the worry I put him and the family through,” she said.
“I will be back”.
SOURCE: Warracknabeal Herald Mar 3, 2017