The final day of racing for elite men of the nine-day Australian National Road Series event in New South Wales was called off after a stopped motorbike sparked a massive crash that left several riders hospitalised.
The elite men’s circuit race in Farrant’s Hill was called off on the first lap after the peloton, racing flat out as early attacks flew, came around a blind corner and ran into a police motorbike that was stopped in the road to control a driver who had gotten onto the course.
According to SBS, the first riders managed to avoid the vehicle, but those behind were not so fortunate. Cameron Scott (ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) plowed into the motorbike at an estimated speed of 55-60 kph, sparking a massive crash in the peloton.
Scott suffered a fractured pelvis but Ben Carman (Nero Continental) was the most seriously injured, and had to be airlifted from the course. Carman broke his tibia, fibula and patella and being put in a temporary medically induced coma before undergoing surgery. By late Sunday he was out of surgery, awake and talking with his family.
Tom Bolton (Oliver’s Real Food Racing) suffered a cut to his leg and head, Liam White (Oliver’s Real Food Racing) a shoulder injury that will require surgery, and Tom Chapman (Bridgelane) fractured his tibia.
The police officer was treated for an arm injury, according to SBS Cycling Central.
While the men’s race was called off, the women’s event went off as scheduled a few hours later. Brendan Johnston (CCS Canberra) won the overall series while Sarah Gigante claimed the women’s title.
The NRS went ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic leading to the cancellation of the 2021 Tour Down Under and Herald Sun Tour. The Australian national championships are due to take place in early February.
UPDATE 2: Ben Carman is out of surgery, awake and in good spirits. He’s been talking with his family and the team completely in shock of the outpouring of support everyone has provided. @Nat_Road_Series #NRS20 #fivepointeight #loganstrong pic.twitter.com/AhwtpOJTjdDecember 6, 2020