Strong and Stable

Two fine adjectives which cannot rightly describe Theresa May’s government just now.

And two words which can no longer, sadly, be used to describe my left shoulder either following an ill-fated weekend at Anglesey.

On Wednesday last week I confessed to Heidi that I had considered skipping this round. I was still having physio after getting punted off three weeks before, the bike was being repaired just in time, Heidi’s dog had fallen ill, it’s a bloody long way to Anglesey and the weather forecast was dire. Heidi also admitted on Thursday that she had a bad feeling about this round. So at least we stepped out with a positive mindset, eh?

We arrived to circuit at 9.30pm Thur night and set about putting up the awning in a gale. Hats off to Surf n Turf for making bloody tough awnings, ours lasted the weekend of high wind and very heavy rain and came back no worse for wear – more than can be said for many others (and me). Heidi had to suffer a battering from the awning while trying to hold it down and also some pretty nasty expletives from me before we could retire to our caravan just before midnight.


Ballast – 2 x 20lt water butts, 4 x pea gravel bags, 3 x 20lt fuel cans, 1 x tyre changer and 3 x tyres. Just about kept things stable…


Cheap awnings just can’t cut it!

Friday was practice day and the morning was dry, bright and sunny. Perfect. Signed on and went out for a shakedown run first session as the bike had had a suspension rebuild, just doing steady 1.16s and it felt good. Back in and ready for second session an hour later, with a tooth extra on the rear sprocket.


Next session and I joined the live track as I was a minute late for session start. Held a wide line round the banking to let any riders through, Mav Platt rode round inside and gave me a wave. I thought it would be a good opportunity to lift my pace a bit, so I hooked onto Mav to try and get a tow. All felt great until the downhill left into the corkscrew. I sent myself in a bit faster than I was expecting due to the new gearing, but nothing dramatic and I was trail braking lightly from a wider line than normal. All was under control and the next thing I was slammed onto the tarmac without so much as a ‘by your leave’.

I took a heavy impact on my left arm, my head bounced off thetarmac (*Kerching – new Arai*) and I found myself following my bike luge-like into the grass (the bastard flipped in the mud). I couldn’t use my left arm properly when I stood up and there was more pain than I was happy with. I knew it wasn’t my recently plated collar bone which was a relief and was hoping it was just bruising. Into the medical centre after the session ended, the CMO didn’t think my method of checking for spinal injuries – wobbling my head from side-side – was the smartest thing he had ever seen, but he suggested I may have a fractured humerus.


Quick call to insure Heidi to drive the van and off to Bangor A&E. We waited hours to be seen, when we were it wasn’t the quick ‘x-ray, tablet and a sling’ I was hoping for. The (excellent) doctor sent me for x-ray, confirmed fractured scapula but then the consultant decided the chances were there would be associated injuries. Apparently the scapula is a big old bone which takes a lot of force to break so it merits extra evaluation. ECG, bloods and CT scan later and all was well, but when they told me they were keeping me in I drew the line and signed myself out – it was 9.30 at night and I wasn’t going to have Heidi left in the caravan on her own half an hour from the hospital. (And I desperately needed alcohol.)


Always get a nurse to do this, Doctors are a shambles. Doctor was embarrassed, I was laughing and poor Heid was in tears!

Friday night was wild – gales and heavy rain – and this continued into Saturday. I was amazed the track was live given the winds. We realised that pulling down the awning and loading the van would be a nightmare so decided to wait for things to calm. In the afternoon Keith Dawson took the time to search the paddock to come help us pack up – many, many thanks to him and Owen Richardson and his friend who stepped in to help as well. This is why the No Limits paddock is different – everyone is willing to help out!

Sat night was a chemistry experiment: co-codamol + ibuprofen + cider = wipe-out!


Sunday after another night of torrential rain and high winds, it was time for the bit Heidi was dreading – driving a high roof Sprinter with a caravan on the back 285 miles home in a gale. She did an excellent job and I got to enjoy 5 hours as a passenger, slurping coffee and beer and eating rubbish.


So it’s back to see the shoulder specialist, who plated my collar bone less than six months ago, to see what we can do with this mess. The pain right now is muscular which concerns me, but let’s wait and see. The bike is a bit of a state now too, I have run out of fairing panels and a number of other bits need replaced rather than patched up. Leathers need repaired for the second time this year and I need a third new helmet this season. I’m glad that I took out a little insurance policy earlier this year, it’ll pay £1,500 for my break which I will be very grateful for.


Big thanks for all the support and help we got over the weekend. Big shout-out in particular to Bangor hospital staff who were excellent – I was one of eight riders they had to deal with on Friday alone (get well soon all). But biggest thanks go, as usual, to the long-suffering Heidi who had a lot to deal with at the weekend and was an absolute legend. (But I did let her wear my Coucon, so really she ought to be grateful. No?)


Here’s hoping for a quick recovery – Cadwell Park in August has to be a realistic target. I know I’ll miss Oulton in early July. Hopefully will have a better idea after Thursday this week.


Doesn’t look too impressive, does it?


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