BATHGATE’S Dario Franchitti narrowly escaped serious injury when he was involved in a motorcycle accident at the weekend, writes JIM McGILL.
But as a result of injuries the 29-year-old received in the crash on his MV Agusta, which were restricted to a slight fracture of the L1 vertebrae, the Scot has been forced to sit-out this week’s Indycar race in Japan.
Franchitti’s place in the race, round three of the Indy Racing League, will be taken by 25-year-old Englishman, Dan Wheldon.
Franchitti had stopped off in Scotland en route from his home in Nashville to Japan for this Sunday’s race and had decided to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather by taking his bike out for a ride, although no details of where the incident too place have been released.
“The motorcycle had a mechanical problem,” Franchitti explained today. “I tried to slow down but, of course, that was a bit difficult under the circumstances and I wound-up crashing through a hedge and landing on my back.”
The Andretti Green Racing driver was taken by ambulance to St John’s Hospital in Livingston for treatment and X-rays, and spent the night in the hospital.
Subsequently, an MRI was conducted at Ross Hall Hospital in Glasgow which revealed what Doctor Colin C Mainds , F.R.C.S. termed “an anterior stable compression fracture of the L1 vertebra with no posterior injury or canal compromise.”
Former Champ Car ace Franchitti, who learned his trade at Knockhill in Fife and only switched to Indycars this season, admitted: “This is the first time in 19 years of racing that I’ve missed an event due to injury and I’m terribly disappointed to miss the Twin Ring Motegi race in Japan this weekend.”