RACE: Corner worker story on Ralph Ridge

Editor's Note: Ralph Ridge, Detroit Region SCCA and Formula Vee driver died of a heart attack on the last lap of the Vee race. This is the responding corner worker's report. "Don't go anywhere. Someone's coming to help you." I squatted there...

Editor's Note: Ralph Ridge, Detroit Region SCCA and Formula Vee driver died of a heart attack on the last lap of the Vee race. This is the responding corner worker's report.

"Don't go anywhere. Someone's coming to help you."

I squatted there listening to labored, bubbling breaths.  Where is the ambulance?  Quiz called for that before he described the incident. 

"He's having a hard time breathing."  Hands reach down and flip up a helmet visor.  I see life fading from beautiful golden eyes.  "He's not breathing."  Where is the ambulance!?  I KNOW we can't remove his helmet and that the ambulance will be here any second.

Seconds tick on in eternity while I peel the Velcro back on a limp driving glove.  Skin is still warm but it's a false relaxation.  "He's got no pulse."

Eternity is over.  I stride to the ambulance and calmly tell the driver, "He's not breathing.  He's got no pulse.  He needs advanced life."

My job is done.

Where is the God who gave power to heal?  Why can't I have that power?  Be healed.  Rise and walk!  Instead, I push a broom to move detritus off a slab of asphalt in the hope that two ambulance crews, assorted EMS personnel and a doctor can find a reason to call in a Medivac helicopter.

I am only a spectator as a Formula Vee reaches terminal velocity at the Armco at pit-in.

I've been training for five years so that I would respond promptly and efficiently to "incidents".  No matter how serious they are.  I did my job, but it was not enough.  I will be back at the station until I am too decrepit.  I will do my job because I am a corner worker.  I love flagging, communicating and chasing cars.  I was a dog in my last life. 

This is the happiest day of my life.  I've got a ring to prove it.  But my joy and hard effort are no solace when you've only had your husband for three weeks and he dies at a race track.

Ralph, you, your wife, family and friends will be in my thoughts and prayer for a long time to come.  I hope you lived life to its fullest.  More importantly, I hope you were satisfied and had no regrets.

-MBS-

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Series SCCA
Tags GRASSROOTS