Thursday, 7 August 2008


I was watching The Professionals yesterday as you do, when you are in the south of France. It was very hot and Wendy had taken the boys swimming at the river. Well yesterdays episode was where Doyle was entered in a motor cross race. This is racing a motorcycle around a dirt course with jumps and corners. When I was a young man I took part in races of this nature. My favourite sort of races were called Enduros. These were races where the courses ran through forests and the distances were longer,hence the name.

On one occasion I was racing in Essex, I was going rather well and perhaps getting a little cocky. There was a section of the course that had a very nice jump and after about five laps I was taking off and going quite a way. There were people taking pictures, so I was pushing my envelope just a little. After about an hour, I was getting just a bit puffed,but when the jump came round I would go hell for leather at it, that was my downfall. I came into it very fast and took off at an angle and gravity being what it is the bike twisted under me and went it's own way,leaving me for a nano second hanging in the air about fifteen feet up in the air. I soon hit the ground with a bump. My landing was on my back, the air had been knocked out of me and I lay there for a second before trying to get up. But as there were other bikes speeding past with scant regard for my safety, I thought that I should get out of the way. I tried to lift myself up, but found that I could not. I could move my legs, but not lift my torso at all. A panic overtook me,perhaps I have broken my neck or my back. No, I could move my legs. Marshals came and moved me off the track. A St John's ambulance man came and looked at me and told me that I had broken a collar bone and that I would live. This was a relief. As I was laying there a young boy came up to me and said 'That was great mister,will you do it again ?'. I laughed and told him 'Probably,but not today'.
An ambulance came and they had a look at me and the ambulance man said ' We could take you to hospital here,but it is tiny and you will be there hours, I suggest that you go back to Fulham and go to hospital there'. My Uncle who was driving us said he agreed. So off we went, me in the passenger seat trying to sit upright with my collar bone poking out of my shoulder. I was covered in mud and still wearing my racing gear as I walked into St Stephen's hospital on the Fulham Road, the lady's face behind the glass was a picture. I was bound up as there is no real treatment for a broken collar bone and sent home. I walked around like Boris Karloff for weeks.
Funny how watching one old tv show can bring things to mind............

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