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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Susan Knox & Jamie Roberts

Top Gear's worst crashes ever as Freddie Flintoff smash sees BBC show cancelled

Top Gear fans were gutted to hear the 34th series won't continue filming following presenter Freddie Flintoff's horror accident.

BBC Studios released a statement on March 23 to say they will continue to support the star with his recovery, while adding they felt "would be inappropriate to resume" filming "at this time".

They added: "We understand this will be disappointing for fans, but it is the right thing to do, and we’ll make a judgment about how best to continue later this year."

The 45-year-old former cricketer was airlifted to hospital after suffering a 'terrifying' crash while filming an episode of the BBC show last December.

Freddie is said to have been shooting an episode for the hit BBC series at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome before the incident.

The much-loved presenter was reportedly injured as he told the BBC cameras his opinion of the car for the show's review segment.

His co-star Chris Harris was also at the Top Gear test track at the time.

However, Freddie's incident is far from the first to happen while shooting the long-running series - and wasn't his first scare either.

Here, we look at some of the biggest accidents in Top Gear's history, from Richard Hammond's near-death coma to Jeremy Clarkson's 'dislodged head'.

Freddie Flintoff's near fatal 124mph Top Gear crash - 2020

Former England cricketer and sports personality Freddie Flintoff was nearly killed in 2020 (BBC Studios/ Lee Brimble)

Former England cricketer and sports personality Freddie Flintoff was nearly killed when he crashed while racing at the astonishing speed of 124mph before losing control back in 2020.

The 45-year-old was driving a motorised trike, called a Time Bandit, that required him to lie down on his front, head on with the road at York’s Elvington Airfield when he overshot the track.

Top Gear camera crew and co-hosts Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris watched in horror as Freddie misjudged the runway, spinning off in a cloud of dust.

He was competing in a drag race against co-hosts Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness, who were driving a Nissan GTR and a converted garden shed respectively.

Freddie was competing in a drag race against co-hosts Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness (BBC/ South Shore/Ross Cooke)

Released headcam footage shows Flintoff careering on to a grassy stretch at the end of the airfield near York.

"I can't stop - I'm running out of runway," he shouts to his co-stars in the terrifying footage.

Speaking following his crash, Flintoff said he was 'absolutely fine'

He added: "I go to great lengths to make sure I do well in Top Gear drag races but on this occasion I went a few lengths too far! It will look more ridiculous than dangerous when you see it on TV."

Richard Hammond's near-death coma - 2006

Richard Hammond was left in a coma for two weeks after the horror crash in 2006 (AFP/Getty Images)

Grand Tour presenter Richard Hammond was on life support in 20 06 after he lost control of a £2million supercar in Switzerland which left him in a coma with a frontal lobe brain injury.

Luckily for the daredevil, he miraculously survived the ordeal... but at one point doctors didn't think he was going to make it.

Doctors were monitoring his vitals and said that he was on full life support and breathing apparatus.

His wife was told by doctors that they thought Richard was going to die, and when Mindy asked if there was anything they could do, they replied: "no not really."

Richard Hammond's car crash in September 2006 in The Vampire jet car (BBC)

Richard, 52, recently opened up about his bizarre brush with death and how he found strength within his mind to regain consciousness - after being just seconds away from dying.

The Top Gear star revealed that it was his wife's screams that saved him from dying while he was in a coma.

After Mindy was told that Richard may die, she asked the doctors if she could shout at the Top Gear presenter, and she did.

"Apparently she roared and screamed and swore at me 'don't you dare die', and that's when I woke."

Richard Hammond's Grand Tour Hill Climb Crash - 2017

Richard was left with knee injuries after his horror crash in 2017 (Internet Unknown)

While filming for series two of The Grand Tour, Hammond’s electric supercar caught fire, and 'smashed his knee to pieces.

While driving the Croatian-made Rimac Concept_One, Richard failed to brake for a corner, throwing himself and the car off the side of a Swiss Hill Climb course.

Hammond suffered a fractured knee, needing to use crutches for months afterwards.

Unfortunately for the car, it came out a bit worse than the driver, bursting into flames and turning into ashes.

Richard's car went up in flames (PA)

Luckily for Richard, his injuries were not too bad - but the incident has left him with longterm knee pain.

The producer from Grand Tour revealed the full extent of this catastrophic crash to The Mirror back in 2019.

“When they saw the wreckage on fire they thought Richard was dead. It was really bad. If Richard had been a few seconds slower getting out, he would have been incinerated.”

According to the producer, it was a 'miracle' that Hammond survived the crash which occurred up the Hemberg Hill Climb.

James May crashes into wall at full speed - 2022

Former Top Gear presenter James May was rushed to hospital following a 75mph crash into a wall earlier this year.

The 59-year-old had been filming Amazon Prime show The Grand Tour when the incident is said to have occurred.

Appearing alongside fellow hosts Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, James is reported to have been taking part in a drag-style race against his fellow hosts when disaster struck.

Thankfully, his injuries were not life-threatening, but he did suffer a broken rib before he was given the all-clear following a brain scan and X-rays.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper at the time, a source said: “It looked extremely worrying at first. Jeremy and Richard were concerned about their mate and the paramedics swooped in quickly.

“As ever on a shoot of this scale, medical staff are waiting in the wings in case — as they did here — things go horribly wrong.

“James smashed his head quite hard in the impact and was bloodied by it. He was complaining about pain in his back and neck. He broke at least one rib and was quite shaken by it.”

Jeremy Clarkson's 'head is dislodged from his spine' - 2008

Jeremy Clarkson said his head was left dislodged from his spine after crashing the Renault Magnum into a brick wall (BBC)

Back in 2008, Jeremy Clarkson sustained painful injuries after he drove a Renault Magnum truck into a brick wall during a challenge.

At the time, during series 12 of Top Gear Jeremy said: “My ankle burst where the clutch pedal went through the wall.

"And my head was dislodged from my spine due to the impact."

During the same episode, before he drove the lorry through the brick wall, Jeremy also received an injury to his torso.

The Top Gear host was driving his Renault Magnum truck around a skidpan and a combination of excessive speed and failing to wear a seat belt caused him to slide across the cab and slam his torso into the gear shifter.

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