Richard Hammond joined Top Gear in 2002 alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Jason Dawe, soon presenting himself to be an excellent choice to push the show into stardom. A year later, Dawe left and we saw the entrance of James May. The rest, as they say, is history. But history likes to repeat itself.
Richard Hammond has crashed over and over again during his time in Top Gear and now The Grand Tour. Now he’s known for it. It’s become a meme, and fans of the shows are even starting to wonder if these accidents are actually written into the show.
What’s Richard Hammond said about his crashes?
Talking to The Times, Richard discussed his first crash in the Vampire Dragster which almost killed him. Instead, he ended up in a coma. He talks about the affects its had on his health later in life:
“When I was initially in recovery, because it was a frontal lobe injury, the doctor said one of the problems is what they call ‘lost-keys syndrome’.
“Years later I’d lose my keys and I’d think: it’s because of my brain injury. But, no, I’d just lost my keys. I’m 51.
“Now, I regularly go into a room and I can’t remember what I went into it for. But I no longer think: oh god, my brain isn’t working.”
He later admitted that because of his memory loss, he became depressed and found it hard to “connect emotionally”. On top of this, he was later diagnosed with post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) that came about after being unconscious for so long.
Richard Hammond’s Wife Mindy’s Response to his Accidents
Of course, it isn’t just Richard who is affected by these crashes. He has a family that relies on him – his wife Mindy, and two daughters Willow and Isabella.
Mindy was able to retell how she felt after the first incident. Stating that his memory loss was “disconcerting” after he didn’t recognise her as being his wife. She said:
“When I corrected him, he responded: ‘No, you’re not my wife, my wife is French.’
“Indeed, when he was allowed home five weeks later, it became clear that Richard’s memory loss was no short-term affliction.”
She also added that he became increasingly angry afterwards:
“He could feel the anger welling up, and was afraid that he might not be able to control himself.
“It must have been utterly terrifying for him.”
She told the Telegraph:
“I tried to shield them from Daddy’s illness as much as I could, limiting their time together, and I avoided giving too much detail about his injury.”
After failing to come to a stop after a hill climb during filming for The Grand Tour Season 2, Hammond and the Rimac Concept One he was driving flew off the side of the hill before hitting the ground shattering his knee.
Mindy later admitted that was on his second strike:
“Three strikes you’re out,” she told interviewers. “You’ve had two goes.”
All Of Richard Hammond’s Crashes:
Drag Racing The Vampire Dragster
During a 2006 episode of Top Gear, Hammond was set and ready to run at speeds around 288mph. After several runs getting used to the high performance dragster, he was ready to perform his final run. During this run, the front left tyre failed, launching him off of the track. He was airlifted to the closest hospital and treated to brain damage, including being put into an induced coma.
The health and safety report read:
“Hammond’s instantaneous reaction to the tyre blow-out seems to have been that of a competent high performance car driver, namely to brake the car and to try to steer into the skid.
“Immediately afterwards he also seems to have followed his training and to have pulled back on the main parachute release lever, thus shutting down the jet engine and also closing the jet and afterburner fuel levers. The main parachute did not have time to deploy before the car ran off the runway.”
Mozambique Motorcycle Accident
The complete details to this accident aren’t known, but during filming of The Grand Tour Season 2 Mozambique Special episode, Hammond fell off a motorcycle and hit his head. Hammond assured he was fine, but Clarkson later admitted that “he really did hurt himself quite badly.”
Rimac Concept_One Hill Climb Crash
Being the most serious crash since his drag car incident, this could have gone a lot worse.
While driving the Croatian-made Rimac Concept_One, the presenter 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 over the days following, burnt to ashes.
He explained the crash at the time:
“So I went over the edge and then it touched down a few times and landed on its roof
“The longer the air time I got the harder the landing would be. And sure enough, it was.”
Chinese Hill Climb Crash During Season 3
Hill climb courses and Richard Hammond don’t seem to agree, so of course, when the presenters raced up a make-do hill climb course in China during the sixth episode of Season 3, Hammond bit the dust once again.
Driving a three-wheeler, he misjudges a corner, flips the small car, and falls down the side of the course. This may have been staged, but despite this, came as a surprise to all of us.
Open-wheeled Racecar Crash In Poland
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While filming in Poland for the next episode of The Grand Tour, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May each took to a track in the city of Poznan as they continued their journey west across the country.
Here, they visited the Tor Poznan race track. But before long, a photo emerged of Richard Hammond standing next to his crashed car with his hands on his hips. James May was stood next to him looking very disappointed in his co-presenter.