Crick's brush with death

IT'S been a long road back for Launceston racing driver Greg Crick after suffering a serious case of carbon monoxide poisoning during the Bathurst 12-Hour race in February.

The two-time Targa Tasmania winner spent two weeks in Launceston's St Vincent's Hospital and four weeks of hyperbaric chamber treatment in Hobart after co-driving the Erebus Motorsport Mercedes entry to third place in the endurance race.

``I had no effects during the race and had one of the best stints at Bathurst I've ever had,'' Crick said.

``We ended up third, just a couple of seconds off the lead and I was fine.

``But by the Thursday after the race I was quite sick and went to my doctor. By the Saturday I was in hospital.

``They treated the lung infection and got that under control but I was bed-ridden and sent to Hobart. The hyperbaric treatment really accelerated my recovery.''

The Launceston car dealership principal had been invited to co-drive the Erebus Mercedes by team owner Betty Klimenko and joined V8 Supercar drivers Will Davison and Jack Le Brocq in the Mercedes.

With Bathurst experiencing temperatures in the high 30s, which Crick says exacerbates the effect of carbon monoxide poisoning, he did two, two-hour stints in the race.

``Since the mid-1990s I've been a bit affected by car fumes and for that reason I've worn a helmet with a filter that is  97 per cent effective in removing the carbon monoxide,'' Crick said.

He didn't have his regular helmet at Bathurst but says carbon monoxide poisoning is not uncommon among race drivers, and in Europe regulations had been introduced to prevent it.

``V8 Supercars are the only category here that have put in place safety measures for the drivers,'' Crick said.

He said this included mandatory helmet filters and maximum cabin temperatures.

He wants to see the sport's governing body - the Confederation of Australian Motorsports - address the problem.

``The young drivers don't think they are being affected but later on they'll have problems,'' Crick said.

Crick won the Australian GT Championship in 2006 in a Dodge Viper and made his Touring Car Masters debut last year in a locally prepared 1973 Chrysler Charger.

He's missed the first two rounds and is hoping his doctors will give the all-clear for him to resume his battle with fellow veterans like John Bowe and Jim Richards in Darwin in June.

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