The release of the movie Pork Pie last week brought back some bittersweet memories for drifter turned stunt driver Adam Richards.
The 38-year-old from Taranaki was working on the movie in Wellington last April when he suffered a seizure.
Richards was rushed to hospital where scans revealed a tumour the size of a golf ball in his brain. Surgery removed 85 per cent of the tumour and since then he has had several rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
"There's technically no cure, just treatment," says Richards, "but thankfully I've made a good recovery and everything is going really well. Before I had my surgery the doctors warned me I might not walk or talk again so to get back in my drift car next weekend will be something very special."
Richards is one of three judges for Mad Mike's Summer Bash at Hampton Downs next Saturday (Feb 18). He's also hoping to take to the track for a few laps. Richards was the D1NZ national drift champion in 2005 and his skills behind the wheel led to a career as a stunt driver working on TV series like Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune and Power Rangers.
"Very few people were drifting it when I got into it in the early 2000s," he says. "We'd been pulling skids and driving sideways around industrial areas for years before we realised there was a sport called drifting.
"My stunt driving came about because of my drifting. I was asked to do some donuts in a souped up car in a car park at Western Springs. They offered me $150 or something. I was stoked. I would have done it for free."
"I'd much prefer to be driving than judging at the Summer Bash but I'm still really looking forward to it."