Track racing is aggressive and crashes are common, but rarely serious. One of the worst in recent Australian racing was Craig Milton's now legendary spill in Launceston in 1985. Milton went down when a tyre blew out on him, and as he landed his pedal dug up a splinter of the then-new track surface. A 33cm long, 1cm wide spike entered his torso just under the armpit, puncturing his lung and stopping 1cm from his heart. The spike had to be broken off the track surface so Milton could be removed and he spent 8 hours under the knife as surgeons pulled bits of wood out of the wound. Milton got back on the bike a week later to win the Australian 10 mile and team pursuit championships. His effort in the team pursuit tore open the stitches and he finished the event with his blue NSW track squad strip dyed red, and had to immediately return to hospital. The spike is on display in his bike shop in Cronulla.
Belgians Tom Steels and Matthew Gilmore found it hard going representing their country in the madison at the first round of the Track World Cup(2004) in Moscow. Steels fell twice and Gilmore once during the heat and final, and Steels finished up with a 7cm splinter of wood in his back.
"It was a race for real kamikazes, hence the falls," Steels was quoted on VRT Teletekst. "After the race the doctor had to remove a seven centimetre splinter from my back. Fortunately my road campaign is not endangered."
A guy at my shop broke his shoulder from crashing at the local track. About 75% of the guy's at my shop race/have raced track and they all laugh at me when I say I think downhill racing is overall more dangerous. But the guy who broke his should explained it to me this way, "Imagine going 40mph into a banked corner and falling down, where not only are you going to hit cement hard and fast, but you also fall down another 10ft."
...I changed my opinion to downhill and track racing being equally as dangerous to an extent.