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December 11, 2006

TVR Chimaera

This accident happened to me on the 18th November, 11.00 am in the morning on the M25 anti-clockwise near to the Caterham junction. The conditions were pretty nasty; pouring rain, heavy traffic due to the usual construction lane closures; nothing too untoward. Travelling at no more than 45 mph, in the middle lane, I aquaplaned, spun as if on ice, hitting the central reservation, rupturing the fuel tank, which instantaneously burst into flames. Luckily no one else was involved and I was able to drive to the hard shoulder, whilst the flames licked the rear of the driver seat and a flaming tail of burning fuel followed me to the cars final resting point. Having grabbed a few of my possessions, within minutes the entire rear of the TVR was ablaze. The Surrey Fire Brigade arrived within 10 or so minutes and Motorway Patrol closed off the entire carriageway for 45 minutes. As I looked at the stationary traffic, I could not help but feel guilty and responsible for delaying their onward journey. There has been many a time when I have been stranded in a traffic jam, wondering why people can?t drive more carefully! On reflection, I am happy to be here after such an incident. It all happened so quickly, but having had a good sob last night, I now keep on asking myself numerous questions! Should I have powered out of the slide or dropped the clutch? Due to the limited camber of the middle lane and the fact that the M25 road surface conditions are no different to those of a busy congested, oil/ petrol stained road in the centre of London, should such a major road be cleaned with bio-degradable detergent? Should I have driven in the fast lane where the surface water is better displaced? Are the surface conditions of our roads really that safe to drive on considering the amount of rain we do have, regardless of what the water board say? Should I have had a couple of bags of sand in the boot to keep the back end down? Although the accident resulted in an impact to the boot of the Chimaera, why was it that the fuel tank instanteously ignited? Maybe my TVR would still be here today should it not have been for the fire! The list of questions goes on! Like a rabbit with a pair of broken back legs, my beloved char-grilled TVR was hauled onto a low bed loader and transported off to its final resting place. Having owned this magnificent beast, I have had some fantastic times; the Goodwood breakfast runs, wonderful drives through Wales and a number of track tuition days. I had tremendous respect for my Chimaera. She really was part of the family and a great loss!


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