It’s been a while since Richard Hammond became one of the biggest names in the car-centered TV industry, but that hasn’t always gone as smoothly as he’s wanted. Whether it is through his shows “Top Gear”, and “The Grand Tour” or during one of his adventures alone, Richard has had his fair share of crashes and ugly incidents which have left more than a bitter memory in his mind, but some physical scars as well.
Despite it all, Richard has never stopped running and racing, making it quite hard to keep up with all the wrecks he’s been involved in.
Luckily for you, here we are with a complete compilation of all the notable accidents that we know Richard Hammond has had, from those mild enough to cause some laughs to those which put him in a hospital bed. Read-on to see them!
True to the nature of their jobs, Richard Hammond and his pals James May and Jeremy Clarkson aren’t afraid of scripting a thing or two just for entertainment. Nonetheless, in the third season of “The Grand Tour” filmed in China, a scripted scene turned out to be unexpectedly messy.
As seen early in the episode, Richard, James and Clarkson were competing to see who could be fastest to the top of a high and difficult road. Richard was the third in line for the challenge, but his small three-wheeled car was less than fitting for the tight road. Despite Richard’s best efforts, he lost control of the car and it violently flipped over as it was sent onto the side of the road.
Although they showed the small red car being destroyed as it fell off the hill’s side, that could have been a well-edited camera trick given how Richard reportedly didn’t sustain any serious injuries from it. Nonetheless, the flip over was as real as it gets.
24-Hour Race Crash
Going back to Richard Hammond’s time in “Top Gear”, he was involved in more than a handful of crashes. One of the most serious was during the Britcar 24-hour race, in the show’s 10th season.
The idea of joining the Silverstone-based race came up when Richard and his “Top Gear” co-hosts ended up with hundreds of biodiesel gallons to spare, deciding to form Team Top Gear despite their lack of racing experience. However, their hopes were cut short when in the race’s seventh hour, their BMW 330d and a Mosler MT900R GT3 from Chad Motorsports crashed. Behind the wheel was Richard, who was left with no option but to park on the side due to the damage done to the BMW, while Mosler simply kept running.
The crash severely handicapped Team Top Gear, which finished 78th in the final ranking.
Van Challenge Crash
Back in season eight of “Top Gear”, the Cheap Van Challenge resulted in a messy crash for Richard Hammond. After purchasing a Suzuki Carry for less than £1000, Richard competed against James’ LDV Convoy and Jeremy’s Ford Transit in a series of challenges which tested each van’s speed and capability.
Right at the last challenge, racing against a Police car driven by The Stig, Richard unwisely tried a Scandinavian flip at high speed with terrible results. Richard’s black van turned over messily, leaving him trapped inside, but fortunately unharmed.
Despite gaining the overall Cheap Van Challenge, it wasn’t necessarily worth all his effort. As he admitted in 2023, the whiplash caused by that one crash was severe, and it still affects him whenever he’s tired or stressed, despite it having been over 15 years since it happened.
It’s thanks to “The Grand Tour” that long-time fans of Richard Hammond have had the chance of seeing his biker facet, though it hasn’t always been for the best.
So far, audiences have seen Richard getting his 1928 BMW R52 stuck in the mud or crashing it against a gate in his backyard while trying to film a tribute to the 2004 “Long Way Round” series. However, the situation wasn’t as funny when he was left unconscious after crashing his bike while in Mozambique.
According to reports, he and his “The Grand Tour” co-host were in the middle of filming in a remote location in the country, but a sudden loss of control at high speed resulted in him falling off the bike and hitting his head: ‘There was a lot of concern. If his injuries had been serious it wouldn’t have been easy to get medical attention. It’s very remote there and facilities are basic’, staff from the show told Top Gear Box.
While it’s unclear if Richard was taken to receive medical attention, he took to his social media to inform fans that he was alright, despite hurting all of his body except for his ‘un-bruised’ left thumb, as he wrote. Nonetheless, it was a scary incident, considering that Richard has had his fair share of serious head injuries.
Richard might have had quite a few bad experiences behind the wheel, but many times these haven’t got past the casual laughs for entertainment purposes. One of those incidents took place in the sixth episode of “The Grand Tour” season two, which took the team to Colorado, USA to compete against each other’s second-hand classic Jaguars.
While judging the reliability of the cars was the issue at hand, Richard didn’t necessarily treat his 50-years old Jaguar 420 carefully during his off-road race, crashing it at high speed over the road’s mud bumps. While safety measures were taken in case things got out of hand, Richard’s round was so violent it did a lot of damage to the Jaguar, breaking its back windows and leaving the deck lid to nearly fall over.
Pipe Ramp Accident
Given all the times that Richard has put his life at severe risk and has emerged mostly unharmed out of it, there’s no way to deny he’s quite the lucky guy.
One of his too-lucky-to-be-real incidents happened in the second season of his show “Crash Course”, which premiered in 2012. At the time, Richard was proving his luck while learning the art of stunt performing, using a pipe ramp to make everything more dramatic which sent his car rolling over and falling on its side, losing a piece or two and damaging the car in the process.
While becoming a stuntman wasn’t a hard task considering Richard’s experiences behind the wheel, the scene was as impressive as it was scary.
One of Richard’s most recent crashes happened in August 2022, when he and his “The Grand Tour” co-hosts James May and Jeremy Clarkson were filming the show’s fifth season in Poland.
While their stay in the European country was filled with memorable stops in historically-remarkable places, their trip took an unfortunate turn when Richard crashed his open-wheeler car against a wall made of tires. As seen in photos posted by fans online, Richard was uninjured after the accident, and the car’s damage wasn’t out of the normal. Still, considering the speed he might have been driving at and the potential of the car, the situation could have been much worse.
While Richard Hammond has emerged alive and well from most of his crashes, he’s had his fair share of near-death experiences which still follow him to this day.
One of the most serious and scariest accidents he lived through occurred in 2017, while filming an episode for “The Grand Tour”s second season. At the time, Richard and his co-stars were in northeastern Switzerland competing against each other in a hill-climb mode, behind the wheel of a Rimac Concept One, a Croatian-made supercar valued at $1 million.
While everything seemed to be going as well as usual, things turned ugly for Richard when he lost control on a turn and sled off the track. His white Rimac crashed onto the side road, broke a fence, and rolled over the grass in a matter of seconds.
Fortunately, paramedics were able to take a still-conscious Richard out of the car before it was engulfed by flames. Richard was air-lifted to the nearest hospital and treated for a fractured leg, but recovered so well that he was able to drive again less than two months later. Authorities fined the event’s organizers for not complying with local regulations.
While Richard’s Rimac crash has been used as an ongoing joke in “The Grand Tour” ever since it happened, the accident was undeniably a horrifying one.
— Trending Car News (@autolizer) June 12, 2017
Vampire Dragster Crash
By far the most serious and terrifying crash ever lived through by Richard was the Vampire Dragster in 2006. It occurred during the 10th season filming, when the “Top Gear” staff planned on setting a new land speed record, previously broken in 2000 by Colin Fallows in the Vampire Dragster.
However, following producer Andy Wilman’s rejection of the record-breaking proposal, Richard was only meant to enjoy the ride and record his maximum speed. Even so, his intentions were cut short when a tire failure caused the Vampire Dragster to flip over in a terrible, scary crash which was completely recorded by “Top Gear”s cameras. The Vampire was left engraved in the sand, while an unconscious Richard was trapped in it for minutes.
After being rescued by paramedics, Richard was taken to New Yorkshire’s hospital where he was induced into a coma for two weeks, and suffered a post-traumatic loss of memory. Even after his physical recovery, Richard suffered from amnesia over subsequent years, a product of the head injury he suffered during the accident.
In a 2022 video for DriveTribe, Richard sat in the Vampire Dragster again for the first time since the accident, but despite refraining from driving it again, it was a step forward for him.
All in all, Richard Hammond has crashed in a wide variety of autos, from supercars to trucks, passing from vans to high-speed concept cars, but while some wrecks have been more serious than others, no one can say he doesn’t take his job seriously.