Former racer who was paralyzed in an accident reveals his heartbreak as a father
A former racer who was paralyzed for life in a fatal accident has expressed his pain at not being able to pick up his two sons for a cuddle.
Greg Sumner, 32, of Bristol, was in his early 20s when he was involved in a head-on collision when his friend was going over 90mph in a race with other drivers.
He shares his regrets on The Secret World of Boy Racers: UNTOLD, currently streaming on All 4, while filmmaker Ben Zand speaks to young racers.
Examining the UK underground car scene, the film shows young racers from across the country gathering late at night to parade their cars and reach speeds of almost 200mph on British roads.
When footage emerges of them speeding their cars at dangerous speeds, they brag about escaping the police in a “game of cat and mouse.”
While many of the racers in the film claim they are good drivers to avoid disaster even at scary speeds, Greg talks about how lucky he is to be alive after the catastrophic accident he was involved in.
The father-of-two, who admits he liked to drive fast before his accident, recalls the night his best friend crashed into another motorist.
He says, “On the way home, a race developed with a car full of young men.” A poor fellow comes towards us on the way to work. Both drivers disappeared on impact.
“Our car was traveling at 91 km/h through a 40 mph area. I broke 27 bones. The most devastating injury was the impact on my head.
After the accident, Greg was in a coma for four months and was completely paralyzed. He must now have a full-time carer.
Greg Sumner, 32, of Bristol, was a passenger in a fatal car accident that killed his best friend and another driver when he was in his early 20s. In a new documentary for Channel 4, he has expressed grief at not being able to hold his children
Greg (left) talks to filmmaker Ben Zand (right) about the night of the accident that left him paralyzed for life
Greg (pictured before the accident) was a young race car driver who loved to race in cars. But the accident left him in a coma for months, and when he woke up he was paralyzed
He tells Zand, “I’m trying to be a father without picking around.” [my sons] I’m ready for a little cuddle whenever I want – this will tear me apart as long as I’m breathing.’
He adds, “I was lucky.” That’s lucky.’
Elsewhere in the film, Zand speaks to anonymous young racers who organize late-night car meets on British roads that would be full of cars on a normal day.
One of the organizers, Min, reveals how he organizes the car meetings while evading law enforcement.
He tells Zand, “It’s definitely a game of cat and mouse with the police.”
“It’s the adrenaline.” Not everyone is into parties and drug use. Some people like cars. It’s like Fast and Furious in real life.”
Min invites the film crew to a late night car meetup on Bond Street, central London, where dozens of drivers are filmed roaring their cars, making noise and setting off car alarms on stationary vehicles.
A race promoter named Min talks to filmmaker Ben Zand about the events he organizes and argues that it’s not intended to disturb other people
“We’re not trying to disturb the public,” Min argues, adding that in this particular location, car alarms “usually go off all the time.”
The loud noise of the engines appears to startle a passer-by, as Min comments, “Yeah look, she dropped her phone.”
Later in the documentary, Zand meets another driver who speaks from behind a mask and is given the name “Race” because he has a 9-5 job and doesn’t want to be identified.
Race tells the show, “I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t give a shit about the police…I don’t give a shit.”
The driver, in his early 20s, reveals he has 21 points on his license – but still insists he is a “good driver”.
He tells Zand he was banned from driving for six months because he was caught driving 140mph on the M6.
When Zand confronts him about the concerns a lot of people have when young racers drive dangerously, he replies: “Just tell people to shut up, frankly they have absolutely no idea.”
“There are people out there who are drinking, doing what the government tells them is okay, and dying.”
He adds: “I’m proud to be a pretty good driver.” I’m not going to hit anyone. I won’t hit anyone, I know that for a fact.’
Another driver named “Speed,” also speaking from behind a mask, tells Zand he wants “the attention” when driving fast, which he says makes him feel “unstoppable.”
“I think this car is a way of expressing myself.” “It’s like transferring my personality to a car,” he says.
Speed reveals that the races he competes in can sometimes reach speeds of up to 200 mph on the freeway.
Speaking of spending £105,000 on cars, he explains that he pays for the huge spend through “businesses and business things”.
Robin, a young racer who was involved in a car accident at one of the young racers’ meetings, also speaks to Zand.
A few years ago he was watching a race at a car meet and was knocked over after being caught in the wing mirror of a speeding car.
“He threw me up in the air and I just landed on the back of my head,” Robin recalls.
After the accident, in which the two drivers involved were sentenced to a total of nine years in prison, Robin suffered a concussion and a back injury.
He tells Zand that to this day he sometimes has trouble getting out of bed because he is in so much pain.
When he reveals he’s spent £30,000 beefing up Volkswagen cars to attend car meets, Zand asks him if the accident stopped him from racing.
He replies, “I don’t think I could ever step down.” I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have a car. I would have nothing.’