• Day 9 of competition at the National Road Series in the Tweed was cancelled due to a mass crash within the peloton. (National Road Series)Source: National Road Series
A horrific crash that saw riders sent to hospital has seen the final day of racing at the men's National Road Series cancelled.
By
SBS Cycling Central

6 Dec 2020 - 4:50 PM 

Day 9 of competition got started with the expectation that the crosswinds would be decisive in determining the race winner. The first lap of the 14-kilometre loop around Farrant's Hill saw those crosswinds whip across the recently planted and thus, very open canefields. The wind saw the peloton reduced to single file, with riders attacking off the front of the race. 

After rounding a bend, not quite a blind corner but with vision restricted, the peloton came on a police motorbike stopped on the road near the left-hand side, but not off the road. With the peloton impacted by the crosswinds, they were lined out on the left-hand side.

While the first riders were able to avoid the halted motorbike, each rider got progressively less time to avoid the obstacle until finally one rider would have absolutely no chance to avoid a collision. 

That unfortunate rider was Cameron Scott (ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast), who hit the back of the motorbike at what other riders who were near him at the time estimated was 55-60 kilometres an hour, and numerous other riders suffered the same fate with a mass crash in the peloton. Mat Ross and Ryan Schilt (both CycleHouse) described afterwards that they had been riding next to Scott at the time, and were only just able to avoid the crash themselves with Scott having no chance. 

Many riders were on the road for a long time, some riders, even the ones nursing suspected broken bones, were able to pick themselves up, but there were a number of badly affected riders who stayed down including Scott, Ben Carman (Nero Continental), Ryan Thomas (ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast), Tom Chapman (Team Bridgelane) and Tom Bolton (Oliver's Real Food Racing). 

Carman was flown to hospital after a series of ambulances and a medical transport helicopter arrived to provide urgent medical assistance. Via his team, SBS Cycling Central has learnt that he has suffered a compound fracture to the leg, was placed in an induced coma and airlifted to Gold Coast hospital.

Scott has suffered a fractured pelvis, while teammates Thomas and Daniel de Domenico have been cleared of any broken bones and are to be released from hospital.

Bolton received a serious gash to his leg, with a cut to his head as well. Oliver's Real Food Racing teammate Liam White has sustained an injury to his shoulder and he'll fly to Victoria for surgery.

Tom Chapman (Team Bridgelane) is in hospital after fracturing his tibia near the knee, while Ben Metcalfe (Team Bridgelane) lost a lot of skin in the incident, but is otherwise in good condition.

Aiden Buttigieg (CycleHouse) fractured his collarbone after crashing into a ditch on the right-hand side of the road.

Reports from the race staff after the crash were that the police officer had pulled to a stop at that point on the road to ensure that a driver, who had ignored directions to stop and wait while the race went past, wouldn't continue out onto the course.

SBS Cycling Central has made enquiries with NSW Police about the incident and the health of the police officer, who confirmed that the officer was treated for an arm injury, with no further update at this stage. 

This report was compiled from talking to riders, staff and commissaires present at the event, with the overwhelming feeling one of dismay throughout those connected with the event. With riders down and awaiting medical attention, there was no appetite to continue racing. Teams began to leave and the men's race was called off, though the women's race was run three hours later.