Top stock car driver Frankie Wainman Junior has escaped a horrific high-speed crash with only minor injuries.

The smash happened as the Silsden racer battled for the lead in a Formula One stock car race at Hednesford Raceway in Staffordshire.

As the cars approached a corner at 80mph, Mr Wainman's car came into contact with another vehicle, flipped over and was catapulted across the track, finally coming to rest on its roof.

Amazingly the 11-times National Points Champion, who was knocked unconscious for a short time by the impact, managed to wave to concerned spectators as he was helped from the wreckage.

Onlookers gasped as the vehicle flipped through the air and many feared his injuries would be much more serious after the incident at about 2pm on Sunday.

Fans have since paid tribute to the strength and resilience of the car, which withstood the impact to prevent the driver being more seriously hurt.

Dozens of messages have been posted on the fans' internet forum Stoxnet wishing him a swift recovery from the bruising and severe neck pains he sustained. He was treated at the track by the duty doctor and reported to his GP for a check-up yesterday.

Mr Wainman, aged 35, of Low Lane, said it was the worst incident he had been involved in during two decades of racing.

He said: "It was over so quickly - in a split second.

"It was a racing incident. I was overtaking a yellow-top for the lead. I can't remember much after that because it knocked me out cold. It happened on the fastest bit of the track.

"I just remember them getting me out of the car. They cut the cage off to get me out, which is fair enough. The medical staff there did a brilliant job with me, and my wife and two kids who were obviously worried."

He said the car had "done its job" in standing up to the impact.

Mr Wainman, who has been told to rest by his doctor, says the incident will not put him off and he is planning a swift return to the track.

One message on the Stoxnet forum said: "Having witnessed the crash first hand, my initial reactions were that FWJ would be lucky to walk away from it with a minor injury - I really did fear the worst.

"Once we realised he was okay, there was a collective sigh of relief in the main stand."

A concerned member of the forum said: "Fingers crossed that Frankie has a full and quick recovery." Another said: Scary - at least he walked away."

"What a relief the cars are built so well to enable Frankie to walk away," added another.

Philip Bond, promoter at the Hednesford track, said: "He had an accident in his Formula One stock car and he was treated in the medical centre by the duty doctor.

"He was walking again during the course of the afternoon after the accident and he seemed okay.

"He is the top driver in that formula and everyone is very concerned.

"Fortunately he walked away from the crash. He went back to his bus, then came up to race control and I watched the final with him.

"He builds cars for other drivers and is a very experienced car builder, as is his dad. This incident says a lot for the way he builds cars."