By Paul Evans
Craig Parry has been forced to quit co-driving on the advice of his doctor, following injuries sustained in a testing accident earlier this year.
The 39-year old from Llanfyllin has enjoyed a long and distinguished career, and is best known for becoming British Rally Champion with Elfyn Evans in 2016.
He was preparing for Rally Germany in the summer with Gus Greensmith when their M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 crashed into one of the infamous Baumholder military road hinkelsteins – large concrete blocks, designed to keep tanks on the road. The car came to an almost instant stop from 75mph, breaking Parry’s pelvis and hip. He was in hospital in Trier for three weeks, where he underwent almost 11 hours of surgery to pin his pelvis back together, before being flown home by air ambulance.
During his stay in hospital, Parry never lost his legendary sense of humour, posting at the time on social media: ‘Don’t expect a selfie post, I look like shit!’
Following another six weeks of recuperation, Parry has been advised not to return to rally competition.
“That’s my helmet put away for the last time…it’s one of hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” said Parry. “I’m absolutely devastated to be calling time on my co-driving career. After the extent of the damage I sustained to my pelvis and hip in the accident we had back in Germany, it now makes it too dangerous for me to get back in a rally car again. The consequences if I ever had another serious accident are just too high for me now.
“As it stands I will recover one hundred per cent and get back to full health and fitness. I have a beautiful family that need me here in their lives.
“I still need the rallying and WRC family in my life, as it’s been my world for the past twenty-four years. I loved my job, I loved working with Gus [Greensmith] and I still have so much to give this sport. I wasn’t ready to stop. That decision has been made for me, which is the hardest part.
“At this moment in time I don’t know what the future holds. I’m slightly nervous, but also excited. One thing that is certain is that I have the best wife and the two most beautiful boys in the world, an amazing bunch of people around me and I’m very thankful for that. So now I have a new chapter in my life…”
Hundreds of rally fans and fellow competitors from around the world have taken to Facebook to show their love and support for Parry.
‘Full respect from me Craig,’ wrote Australian co-driver Dale Moscatt. ‘Your family will realise that this decision is what makes you the Champion, you’re way braver for this than all the stunts you’ve sat through in the co-driver’s seat. Well done buddy. Best wishes with all the new life chapters you have in front of you.’
‘Must have been a really hard decision for you to make, but well respected,’ said Finnish co-driver Mikko Markkula. ‘Health comes first but whatever you decide to do, do it flat-out! As you know, it’s no point riding life with the handbrake on! All the best mate! Hope to see you around many times still.’