Lopes avoids serious injury after collision
Brandon Lopes escaped serious injury during last weekend’s season-ending harness racing at Vesey Street.
The rookie driver suffered a badly bruised pelvis and wrist after being catapulted from the bike following a collision with rival driver Philip Correia in the day’s first heat.
After losing stride Correia pulled his two-year-old filly (Imagine That) to the side in the hope of avoiding a collision. However, Lopes ran out of room on the track and collided with the wheel of Correia’s bike, which sent him flying from his seat.
“I thought I could make it around the horse in the two hold but I couldn’t,” Lopes recalled. “So I tried tucking into the one hold with all the other horses but I couldn’t get in because the horse behind me had already taken my position.
“I had to go back around that horse and didn’t get back around in time. I had nowhere to go but to hit Philip’s wheel.”
After losing sensation in his lower body, the Mount St Agnes student began to fear the worst.
“After I was catapulted I hit the ground and couldn’t get back up,” he said. “I couldn’t feel my legs and Philip was telling me to ‘lay back down’ and once I did that I started to get feelings in my legs again. But my hips were starting to hurt and I also started feeling pain in my wrist.”
Lopes was driven by ambulance to hospital where he underwent x-rays and was treated for bruising before being released.
The mare (LA Ermma Time) he was driving at the time of the mishap was uninjured.
“I was more worried about the horse than I was about myself,” said Lopes, who is recovering from his harrowing ordeal at his Smith’s parish residence.
The grandson of veteran harness driver David Lopes is determined not to let the mishap discourage him from racing at Vesey Street.
“I was shaken up at first ... but I will be back in the bike next year,” he declared. “This is just going to make me stronger.”
Meanwhile, Colin Mello won the Champion of Champions by default after Sunday’s final was cancelled due to the inclement weather.
Mello was declared the winner on fastest combined time from Saturday’s elimination heats.
He also posted last weekend’s fastest time of 1.03/3 that was equalled by Eddie Roque (GV Crystal Ball), who had been keen to face off for bragging rights in the Champion of Champions final.
“It would’ve been a very interesting race because we had the four top horses running against each other,” he said. “They are all at their peak and running strong and spectacular times.”