Steve Tarrant, 51 from Poole in Dorset, is an inspiring less able motorsport marshal who has been able to continue other lifelong passions recently thanks to a new sporty mobility scooter, following his highly publicised near-fatal crash incident at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2000.
Steve is an experienced marshal who attends around 30-40 motorsport events per year such as the Le Mans 24 Hours, Petit Le Mans at Atlanta and both Goodwood meetings. Up until recently he has remained mobile using a manual wheelchair; however his shoulders are becoming increasingly worn, hence following recommendations from his OT, he began looking for an alternative. It was important to Steve to find a mobility scooter that appealed to his love of cars and when he discovered the stylish orange TGA Vita, he knew this was the one for him. Many people around the UK are choosing this model as its cutting-edge and unconventional looks resemble less of a traditional mobility scooter and more of a sports car or motorbike.
Steve lost a leg above the knee and suffered multiple injuries following a terrible accident at Goodwood Festival of Speed on 24 June 2000 which may have finished his marshalling career. However thanks to his pure grit, determination and now a TGA Vita 4, Steve can carry on as he explains: "Even though many of us love motorsport, we have recently been reminded once again about the dangers by the tragic loss of Dan Wheldon in the Las Vegas Indy 300, who I had met recently. My thoughts are with his family, and this incident takes me back to again remembering my fellow marshal Andrew Carpenter and the driver of the 1969 Gold Leaf Lotus 63 Formula One car, Hon. John Dawson-Damer, who both died in the incident that injured me."
Steve continues, "On that fateful day I was marshaling by the finish line when John lost control of his Lotus at 100mph and veered across the grass, scything down both Andy Carpenter and myself. The driver died instantly and unfortunately Andy couldn't be saved. Unfortunately, my own personal recollection of the accident has been erased from my mind; indeed I have also 'lost' the majority of the 36 hours before it as well. I have learnt I was thrown some 8 to 10 feet into the trees behind where I was standing, knocked unconscious and had stopped breathing. When the rescue crew arrived, they started the CPR procedure and it was when my airway was opened that I started breathing again for myself. My right leg (at shin height) was severed at the scene, probably by the front wing of the car. Additionally, both bones in my lower left leg were shattered, the blood supply to my stomach had been ruptured, my large intestine torn, and there was a large gash on the back of my head where I had fallen."
Steve managed to survive this horrific ordeal and spent over five days on life support following operations to save his life. As time progressed and following months of intensive physiotherapy, battling against secondary infections in his remaining leg and readjusting to his new life, Steve remarkably returned to motorsport less than a year after his accident. He even revisited the crash location during the 2001 Goodwood Festival of Speed to pay respects to his lost fellow motorsport colleagues and enjoyed a ride alongside Jenson Button in
a Renault Clio V6. He has also attended The Mobility Roadshow as a VIP and for several years was Rally and Event Director of Motorsport Endeavour, which enables less able individuals to enjoy driving. Damon Hill OBE is one of the patrons of this worthwhile organisation whose sole purpose is to involve people with a wide range of disabilities in a program of car experiences including road rallying, hill climbs, auto tests, navigation, and visits to Motorsport Centres in the industry. Steve still regular marshals at his local Thruxton racetrack and also travels aboard for major events.
Steve concludes, "Before owning my Vita, it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to access certain locations, especially when I need to cross busy roads. The Vita is fantastic and really gives me peace of mind whilst also looking great and delivering power and performance. I really like the look of the new black Vita Sport too - especially the fancy wheels! I have just been selected by the London Olympic organisers to be a co-ordinator and medal bearer at the Games in 2012 where I will be supporting the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events near Weymouth on my TGA Vita. This is a real honour for me and I am delighted to be involved in this once in a lifetime event. My accident has given me such a positive outlook on life and I am forever grateful to the medics who saved me on that terrible day."