Optima Sport's V8 Supercar driver David Clark is on the road to recovery and this morning spoke to the media for the first time since his tragic accident at Bathurst on October 6.
Clark was involved in an incident while competing in the V8 Supercar support race at the Mount Panorama circuit which claimed the life of Mark Porter.
Clark was treated at the circuit by Meditrak staff before being transported to the Nepean Hospital in Western Sydney by the CareFlight helicopter in a critical condition.
The 28-year-old spent two days in the intensive care unit whilst in a medically induced coma. He was released into a general ward on October 9, where he has remained since.
Clark is currently recovering well from the injuries sustained in the accident which included a punctured lung, chipped left knee cap, three broken ribs, a broken pelvis, right forearm and leg above and below the knee. He has had one operation during his time in hospital, on October 7, the procedure included an open reduction on his right arm and a closed reduction on his leg.
Currently he is sporting a cast on his right arm and leg. His voice is currently very croaky as a result of breathing assistance he received during the first 48 hours following the incident.
"I can't thank the medical staff at the track, in the CareFlight helicopter and here at the Nepean hospital enough for their efforts over the past two weeks. They have all been tremendous," said Clark.
"There have been so many people who have been a part of my recovery, some who I've never previously spoken to but I am grateful for their support of not only me but also my family.
"While I'm grateful for all the care and best wishes I've received my personal thoughts go out to Mark's family."
Clark's wife Leah and the couple's seven-month old daughter Reese have been by his side since he arrived at Nepean hospital. The couple's eldest two children, Kyle (7) and Ashleigh (4), have been cared for by relatives in Adelaide but visited along with Leah's parents for several days recently. Clark's parents Ken, Optima Sport team manager, and Lillian have been by his side for the majority of his time in hospital.
"The first thing I did when I woke up was pull the feeding tube they had in my nose, I've never had to deal with being fed like that before, it was just not natural," said Clark.
Since regaining consciousness just over two weeks ago Clark has made continual steady progress and has spent many hours watching daytime television, surfing the internet and reading.
"I'm starting to count how many holes are in the ceiling panels," added Clark.
"It's difficult to do too much with only one hand to use, and it's my left hand at that. I've never been a big fan of sitting around doing nothing and so far I've done a couple weeks of it and got a couple more to go at least."
While he doesn't remember the full details of the incident Clark does have a good memory of the events in the weekend leading up to the race and is showing no signs of any long term memory loss. There is also no sign of any spinal damage.
"As a part of my recovery process they've had me doing memory tests on a daily basis until yesterday when I'd finally ticked all the boxes they wanted me to tick," said Clark.
"I can remember everything about the weekend until just before the race when I was riding around the pit area on the bike before I got suited up."
It is expected Clark will be transported later this week to an Adelaide hospital to be closer to his family where he will spend another couple of weeks before beginning his rehabilitation program.
"I first seen David on his second day in the intensive care unit and his injuries were very severe as a result of the high speed accident," Dr Louis Shidiak said.
"I'm pleased to say he has recovered well from his punctured lung and I expect him to make a full recovery from his fractures as they are all mending very well."
Clark recently asked the question when he can get back behind the wheel of his Optima Sport V8 Supercar.
"David asked me last week if he would be right to make Phillip Island (the final round of the championship in December)," said Clark's father and Optima Sport team manager Ken.
"I told him that his main priority is to get on the road to recovery and make sure he is right while the team works out what is salvageable form the car, which at the moment appears to be very little.
"The team is currently looking at its options for 2007 and is yet to make any final decisions. We have learnt a lot this year, made some good relationships and as a team are looking to build on this experience for the future."
On behalf of the V8 Supercar community Wayne Cattach, Chief Executive Officer of V8 Supercars Australia wishes Clark a speedy recovery.
"We are all delighted that David is making a strong and full recovery," Mr Cattach said.
"The thoughts of the entire V8 Supercar family have been with David for the past fortnight along with all of our best wishes and support. This is truly good news for David and his family.
"We wish him a rapid recovery in the coming weeks."
The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport recently announced the panel of inquiry for the incident. The panel will be chaired by Mr Lex Lasry QC. The two other panel members will be former Chief Steward of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, Mr Garth Wigston, and long serving member of the CAMS Technical Committee and experienced automotive engineer, Mr Robert Chadwick.
A number of technical experts and other specialist advisers will also be called upon to assist the panel with its inquiry.