Teenage rider Caleb Smith awakes from medically induced coma following collision at Snetterton
- Credit: © Double Red
A schoolboy motorcycle champion has awoken from a medically induced coma he had to be placed in after a high-speed collision with another rider at Snetterton race circuit.
Thirteen-year-old Caleb Smith, from Solihull, came off his machine during a practice lap at Saturday's KTM British Junior Cup event.
Trackside safety staff rushed to his aid before he was transferred to the circuit medical centre, where he was found to have a serious head injury.
He was flown by air ambulance to the paediatric intensive care unit of Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge where medics placed him in an induced coma.
The other rider in the crash, 14-year-old Adam Phipps, from Bridgnorth, escaped unhurt.
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Caleb has since awoken from the coma and started responding to his family's voices, and his father Simon Smith said his helmet had almost certainly saved his life. 'Caleb appears to be making progress, he is off the ventilator and has said a few words,' he said.
'Thanks to everyone for their kind words and offers of help and support. Thanks to the marshals, medics and support staff at the British Superbikes. Thanks to the air medics and aircrew on the air ambulance.
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'Thanks to the amazing NHS. Thanks to LS2 helmets – I think you have saved his life.'
Caleb, one of the rising stars of the sport, was riding along the circuit's Tyrrells Straight on a 'sighting lap' when the accident happened. It was the second time he had been injured during the KTM British Junior Cup event.
On his official Facebook page, dad Simon had announced on Friday: 'Caleb crashed early in qualifying. He has been X-rayed by the excellent medical team. No broken bones fortunately. He is with the physio team now and is on a cooling machine.
'They are trying to reduce any swelling so he can get out for Race 1 later. Some good news – despite all this, he qualified in seventh!'
Caleb, the North Gloucester Road Racing Club F125 Champion, signed a two-year deal to race in the Factory Plant Associates race team starting in April this year.
Hundreds of people posted Facebook well-wishes to the young star following the crash at Snetterton.
'Get well soon young man,' said Rick Sutcliffe. 'Any accident at a meeting is bad but seems all the more poignant when it's a rider so young. Hope you're back doing what you love real soon.'
Sarah Southgate added: 'I hope you make a full recovery soon. Thoughts are with you and your family.'
The schoolboy's aunt, Tracy McCann, told him: 'Come on kiddo, you just show them all that you're as tough as old boots – love ya, Auntie Tracy.'
Mr Smith, who himself races classic sidecars and has taken part in the Isle of Man TT races, said: 'Caleb's been racing since he was six. He absolutely loves the sport, has a natural aptitude for it and really wants to get as far as he can.'