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A video shows Richard Hammond getting behind the wheel the car that almost killed him 16 years ago, having climbed into the vehicle for some new content for his DriveTribe website.
Hammond was injured in a Vampire dragster while filming a segment for Top Gear back in September 2006. He had been travelling in the jet-powered car, which can reach speeds of up to 370mph, at Elvington Airfield near York when one of the front tyres failed, causing the presenter to lose control.
Despite suffering a significant brain injury and being in a coma for two weeks, Hammond thankfully made a full recovery.
Now he’s been reunited with the model for DriveTribe, the digital community set up by Hammond and his former Top Gear colleagues Jeremy Clarkson and James May.
The site shared a YouTube video announcing its plans for 2022, saying in the description: “Richard Hammond has been entertaining us on our screens for over 20 years now, but one car nearly changed things forever – the Vampire jet car. In this video, Hammond sets out DriveTribe's plans for 2022, before attempting to get comfortable again with the 300mph+ land speed car.”
The video shows Hammond standing behind a podium, talking through content in the pipeline for the coming year – amid news that the DriveTribe website and app would be closing at the end of the month.
“This year, I shall be doing what I swore I would never do, and get back into the Vampire dragster that so very nearly killed me,” he tells the camera, the corners of the bright yellow car visible behind him.
As he walks up to the car, he says: “Hello again. You look in better shape than last time I saw you, anyway.”
Climbing into the car, he continues: “Right, well, here goes.
“What’s odd is I remember the last time I got in this thing, but I don’t remember getting out. So technically I’m still in it.”
Appearing uneasy, he then looks up and tells DriveTribe colleague Mike Fernie: “Yeah, that’s... Tell you what, Mike, you can do this one, mate. Happy 2022.”
The clip left things slightly ambiguous as to whether or not Hammond would actually be driving the Vampire dragster this year - baby steps, and all that.
However, the video ended with close-up footage of the vehicle, with text on-screen saying: "Coming soon..."
Earlier today, DriveTribe announced it would be closing its website and app - but would continue sharing content through Hammond.
"For many months we’ve been facing significant industry challenges, which unfortunately aren’t going anywhere," a statement said.
"The protracted global shortage of computer chips has caused a number of challenges for the automotive industry, and led to severe reductions in marketing budgets across the industry. This has made for an incredibly difficult operating environment for businesses like ours which are dependent on advertising.
"We, therefore, unfortunately will be bringing the DriveTribe and FoodTribe websites and apps, and the business behind them, to a close at the end of this month.
"However, we are delighted that Richard Hammond will be keeping the DriveTribe community alive through our social media channels which will remain very much in action. Richard is excited to share with you more about his new projects including his Smallest Cog Workshop. Jeremy and James will be with him every step of the way and may even make an appearance from time to time."
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