Author: Oli Rushby Posted: 03 Sep 2015
Guy Martin has finally spoken out about the 130mph smash that hospitalised him at this year’s Ulster Grand Prix, saying while it hasn’t put him off racing, he’s in no rush to decide where he will compete in 2016.
Martin broke five vertebrae when he crashed out of the lead of last month’s Dundrod 150 Superbike race and, by his own admission, was incredibly lucky to be walking again just two days later.
Despite the serious injuries, the road racing star and TV personality was back at work the week after the crash but admits he’s been finding it tough.
“I’ve been back at work a while, but I’m struggling with everything,” Martin confessed. “Sharon, my other half, thought I was an idiot for trying to go back to work so soon, but I’d spent nearly a week at home and I had to do something. Now she admits that me going to work has moved me on loads, mentally and physically. There’s no better physio than working on trucks and I know when I’m doing too much, I’m not planning to do anything that puts the recovery back.
“Having a few days off work gave me time to think about what I want to do, and realise all the things that have had to go on hold. I still want to race, but I’m not going to rush into deciding what or where I’m going to race.
“The surgeon had to move my shoulder blade muscles to get the metal work in, then fasten them all on again. That’s what’s causing the most bother, the muscle not the broken bones. A lot of my work involves having my hands above my head, in the pit working on a truck above me, but I’m alright as long as I don’t overdo it. If it gets too much Moody or Belty give me a hand and I’m getting stronger every day.”
Martin has praised the manufacturers of his kit, saying he wouldn’t have survived the impact with out them – especially his Dainese back protector.
“I don’t remember anything about the crash after headbutting the ground, but the Dainese and AGV stuff I was racing in was bloody brilliant,” said Martin. The leathers were cut off me, but there weren’t many scuffs on them.
“I headbutted the ground at 130mph, then skidded into a dirt field and catapulted off a few things. The impact I hit the ground with was massive. I was knocked out, but it’s a credit to that helmet that I didn’t suffer any damage other than a badly bloodshot eye. There are no rubbish helmets any more really, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be wearing anything other than my AGV.
“I’ve broken some vertebrae, but I’ve got to say the Dainese back protector did its job. It has a honeycomb aluminium core that was crushed by the impact, which is what’s supposed to happen, and it’s making a funny noise if you flex it, but I crashed on Thursday night, I was operated on Friday afternoon and walking Saturday morning. That back protector genuinely saved my bloody life.
“I might have come round at the trackside, because the marshals told people I was spouting the usual gibberish. I properly woke up in hospital. Then it was all the usual questions: ‘Where are you sore? Does it hurt?’ I was in Belfast Royal and I’ve never been more impressed by a hospital than I was by that place, all the staff were great. I broke five vertebrae, but they bolted six together, from T4 to T10, because two are unstable, meaning there’s a chance they could move and damage my spinal column.
“They had to rod my spine because I broke my sternum too. Normally the front will hold the back together or the back will hold the front, but I had broken both front and back. My sternum is cracked straight down the middle, but that’s only cartilage so they don’t do anything to try and repair it.
“I broke five ribs and two metacarpals in my right hand too, and my hand has been plated.”