Veteran racer and circuit owner Tony Quinn says he has learnt plenty of lessons from his serious accident in Townsville and is determined for proper use of race belts to become a hot topic for drivers at all levels.
Quinn was involved in a horrific high-speed accident on the opening lap of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup race last month which resulted in 12 broken ribs, a fractured pelvis, back fractures, two busted ankles and feet, a punctured lung, and severe external and internal bruising.
Quinn is keen to launch an unofficial campaign of “Buckle Up Boys (and Girls)” – “If you think they’re tight, tighten them again”.
He spent six days in the Townsville University Hospital, including his 65th birthday, before being transferred to the Gold Coast where he continues to recover at home.
Quinn says that there is little doubt that the tightness of his belts, or lack of it, contributed enormously to the severity of his injuries.
While Quinn’s legacy in the sport will be unquestionable through his decades of investment as a sponsor, team owner, promoter, and circuit owner, he believes driving a simple message about seat belt/harness awareness is just as important.
Quinn has had a lot of time to reflect in recent weeks and while he has had to delegate a lot of responsibility during his recovery period, he is determined to create an awareness campaign around harness safety for drivers across all categories.
“After analysis of the accident and a look at the in-car footage it is obvious that I didn’t have my belts tight enough,” Quinn told Speedcafe.com at his Gold Coast home.
“I don’t think you have to be f***ing Einstein to work out that if my belts had been tighter I would not have been as badly hurt.
“I had them ‘old man’ tight, not ‘young bloke’ tight and I paid the price.
“You always have to try and find a positive in every situation and while it took a bit of searching to find something out of this mess, it has given me the chance to raise the issue of belts.
“We all know how important they are, but like anything else, if they are not used properly then their effectiveness is reduced dramatically.
“Sure, it might be more comfortable to have them a little looser, especially for the older blokes, but I guess I am proof of what can go wrong. And to be honest, I am probably fortunate it was not worse.
“I probably could have put my head in the sand about my injuries and not acknowledged that my loose belts contributed to the outcome, but I think it is important to own up to that and put the issue in the front of the minds of drivers and even the crew around them.
“I am not here to preach to anyone, but hopefully me bringing this simple process up as a conversation point will make drivers give those belts an extra hard tug before they head out on track.”
Quinn has officially retired from competitive motorsport and has up to 12 months of recovery ahead of him.