Richard and the Vampire dragster

On The Edge: My Story, Richard Hammond

A detailed look at the recovery of Richard Hammond from his jet car accident.

Publisher:Griffin Press, Clayton, Victoria, Australia. 2007
Characteristics:320 pages, ; 24 cm.
Source:Own Library.

The book starts off well covering Richard’s rise from art student to radio host and then getting the gig of a lifetime, hosting for Top Gear. One episode Richard drives the jet car, the Vampire dragster in September 2006. It’s interesting to read about the jet car and its vital statistics. Richard also goes into riveting detail about what it’s like to drive such a beast up to 300mph (482 km/h).

Digital drawing of how the Vampire dragster crashed
Digital drawing of how the Vampire dragster crashed

The story takes a terrible turn when Richard crashes the jet car when the front right tyre fails, causing the car to crash and roll in the dirt. There’s quite a bit of detail about Richard’s injuries including his mouth full of dirt and his left eye which barely hung on.

More than half the book is spent on Richard’s recovery, which gets tedious after a while. There is just too much detail on the fringes of the ordeal. Not mentioned on the front cover is his wife Mindy, who wrote much of the text spent on Richard’s recovery.

Mindy & Richard
Mindy & Richard

While not written the best, especially compared to Jeremy Clarkson’s work, Richard’s recovery story would be of great interest to psychologists and medical personnel who deal with head trauma. It was enlightening to read of a slow but steady recovery, the missing memories and the problems Richard caused his wife and two young daughters.

You have to admire Mindy’s patience and hard work over the many months in helping Richard recover. It is a story of what love is about, caring for your family. Once Richard’s memory returned he felt guilt about the worry he had caused his family, and guilty because he had survived what had killed many. A lucky man indeed, in love, family and life.


A good start but the accident recovery was too long a read. I was expecting the book to be more of a biography than focus on one event almost completely. It probably would have been of more interest closer to when it happened. Still, not a bad read to fill in the time.

Cover: On The Edge: My Story, Richard Hammond

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