A Sutton race driver had to be airlifted to hospital after suffering life-threatening injuries during a crash at Silverstone.
Top London surgeons even had to be flown in to provide life-saving treatment to Matt Edwards after he crashed out of the Classic Touring Car Championship on Saturday morning.
The 39-year-old had been taking part in qualifying laps in the Burton Power Blue Oval Saloon Championship at the famous circuit in Northamptonshire.
The experienced driver was in a field of 30 cars, including other old Ford Escorts, Ford Fiestas, Honda Civics and VW Golfs.
He was in pole position and averaging speeds of 78mph when his mark II Ford Escort was in collision with a VW Golf before he bounced off a pit wall, forcing him onto the grass before smashing into a barrier on the outside of the track.
Matt, who is a director at Coleman’s Garages on Carter Lane East, South Normanton, was quickly flown to Coventry University Hospital.
Initial reports suggested he had received rib injuries but it was found that he had suffered a tear to his aorta, the main artery in the body which stems from the heart.
He also had 10 cracked ribs, a broken collarbone and a collapsed lung.
Following surgery, he was put on a life-support machine and his family were told the coming days would be critical.
However, his condition began improving and by Sunday afternoon he was awake and is now in a comfortable condition.
His brother, Jonathan Edwards, who runs And Why Not? bar and restaurant in Mansfield, said the family had been overwhelmed by the support they have received.
Jonathan said: “We’d like to thank everybody on social media, and the numerous phone calls, and emails we’ve had wishing Matt and the family well.
“We have been through a really difficult weekend and we’re just so glad that he is alive.
“We can’t thank the surgeons enough that were flown in from London just to operate on him, and the care and help he has received from those at Coventry University Hospital.
“We’d also like to thank the lads at Coleman’s Garage who are keeping the business running for him.
“We’re glad he’s still with us, his sense of humour is still in tact and we’re just looking forward to getting him home.”
He said that Matt had been racing for 20 years and it was his first serious crash.