It is now eight months since Kirton motorcycle racer Ben Wilson suffered a serious accident during practice for the North West 200 Road Races in Northern Ireland, but although he’s currently off the track he is well on the road to recovery.
On approaching the Mill Road roundabout he attempted to change gear, only to discover the gear was stuck.
Racing towards the roundabout at a fast rate of knots his bike clipped the kerb and threw him forward, resulting in a compound fracture of his femur.
The medics were quick to treat him at the scene before transferring him to Coleraine Hospital for further treatment.
He had a five-hour operation to clean the wound and stabilise the leg, and the next day arrangements were made to fly him over to the mainland to see a specialist at Addenbrooks Hospital in Cambridgeshire.
Just before he left for his flight, Wilson said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone for their messages of support after my crash.
“It is a real bad break to my leg and it will take a long time and a lot of hard work to heal.
“There were a lot of people involved in getting me back to the UK and you all know how grateful I am.
“I know I’m in great hands I will do whatever it takes to be back on a bike as soon as I can.”
On May 16 Wilson had the first of many operations on his leg and, after he recovered, said: “I had my first op today and it went so well I can’t believe it.
“I owe it all to Hutchy (Ian Hutchinson) and his surgeon.”
Five days later he was making good progress and was looking forward to going home the next day to allow the wound to heal and wait for the next stage of his recovery.
He returned to Addenbrooks on June 20 when he underwent an operation to fit an external fixator on his leg.
When he crashed he damaged the bone and a large portion had been shattered leaving a gap.
The surgeon was confident that the bone would begin to grow back and eventually he would be able to walk again and return to racing in the future, but it was a long road ahead and he would need a lot of patience and determination.
On July 18, Wilson was back at Addenbrooks for yet another operation where, this time, the surgeon fitted a pulley system whereby he was to turn the screws four times a day to stretch the bone as it grows back - a very painful process.
By October the bone had grown by 80mm.
Wilson said: “I’ve still got a long way to go with at least three more operations on my leg, but I have now grown 80mm of my bone back with another 80mm still to go and I hope to be able to start trying to walk in February or March when I can start to get myself fit and ready to get back on my bike.
“This has been the longest break I’ve ever had away from racing and to say I’m missing it is an understatement.
“I will not come back until I’m fit enough to win races and run for the championship, but I will get there.
Wilson had a further check up with his surgeon in November and discovered the bone had grown to 95mm, so it was over half way with just 65mm to go.
He said the surgeon was happy with his progress.
A further X-ray in early December discovered the bone was growing well.
Wilson explained: “I was back to see my surgeon, I’ve only got 25mm left to pull the bone then I can have my next op to take the pulley off.
“But I’ve grown too much bone under my knee which he will have to remove at the same time.
“That is going to be a big operation as he has to completely expose my entire knee.
“I am so glad I have the best man on the job.
“When that’s done I will be able start learning how to walk again, there is a long road still to go but I am determined I can do it.”
Wilson had the operation just before Christmas to remove the pulley and adjust the metal plate inside his leg to make him more comfortable for the next stage of his recovery.