EARLIER this year I was fighting for victory at the Assen round of the World Supersport Championship when I high-sided my Parkalgar Honda at about 70mph and broke my collarbone in three places.
It was a big blow because I should really have won the race and it was only two weeks until the next race at Monza in Italy.
I thought it wasn’t so bad but when I got it x-rayed my left collarbone was in four pieces with three breaks. Two of the breaks were straight down but the third was horizontal so it was a lot worse than I had hoped. I wanted to get it plated but was told the break was too bad and I’d have to leave it to heal.
Sitting out the following round at Monza never really occurred to me, it wasn’t an option. I was determined to race regardless of the injury and told myself because Monza has lots of fast straights I’d be OK, it was one of the easier circuits. I tried not to think of the braking zones that would put pressure on my collarbone.
As the race weekend progressed I gradually took less and less painkillers for the injury. It was sore – like you wouldn’t believe, but if I took painkillers they were making my arm numb and I couldn’t ride properly.
The 40-minute race felt like seven hours and every time I entered a braking zone I’d get the sharpest pain in my collarbone.
When I started the race there was a 15mm gap in the break and when I finished it there was a 25mm gap – it moved quite a lot and that caused a lot of pain that didn’t go away for quite a few days.
I finished fifth though and was pleased with that.
If someone else had tried to race with a broken collarbone I might have thought them a bit mad but now I’ve been there myself I understand it. I simply wanted to race and prove myself – I only get 12 World Championship races a season to show what I can do.
There may have been complications from riding but luckily we had a long gap to the next race and I made a full recovery.
I’m pleased I did it now because I think it shows my determination to compete and win. It also kept my title hopes alive at that point of the season and I am now fighting for third place in the World Championship with two races to go. That fifth place could prove critical overall this year.
My abiding memory is that I never want to experience that sort of pain ever again if I can help it. If anything the pain was worse than the initial break because when I was racing I was breaking it all over again every time I entered a braking zone.
I wouldn’t advise anyone else to do it but if it comes down to having to make the choice again then I would do it again – it’s what I do, I am a motorcycle racer and I want to win.
I’ll write more after this weekend’s races at Magny Cours – nice to be joining you here on Rogue.
Sam Lowes – Parkalgar Honda