Posted on Sep 01, 2016 by George Penny
Little did I realise when I was sliding along the track at the Oscherslieben circuit in Germany last Thursday, already thinking about jumping up and getting back on the bike, what the outcome would be.
The next few hours are all a bit of a blur. A ride to the local hospital by helicopter, an operation with 15 stitches to close a wound at the back of my knee and news that keeps me out of this weekend’s British Grand Prix and more. Back home now I’m clearer on everything and working hard to sort out what is best for the future.
I was at the Oscherslieben competing for the YART, Official Yamaha team in the World Endurance Championship practicing for the final round of the Championship. I was passing a slower rider when he weaved into me and knocked me off. As I was sliding along the track another bike hit me and its fork leg went through the back of my right knee.
The result is I’ve suffered serious damage to three main ligaments in the knee which will require surgery. I’m talking to the surgeons when is the best time to have the operation because there is much to consider. Of course I want to be back racing as soon as possible but I also want to be able to train properly by running and cycling which is so important for just my general wellbeing as a human being. Also I have to consider what is best for my current and future employers and so it’s a very important decision to make.
Of course I’m absolutely gutted to miss Silverstone but I’m positive about the future and have to be grown up to accept I’ve sustained a very big injury – It could have been worse.Now is time to move on and make the right decisions for the bigger picture.
What a way to head into Silverstone and the British Grand Prix with the amazing wins by John McPhee and Cal Crutchlow in Brno last week.
Thirty five years is a very long wait and a bit lost on me because that last premier class win by Barry Sheene came ten years before I was born. I’m a great believer that things come around at the right time and Cal riding number 35 and that first win after 35 years just feels the correct slot. It would have been nice if we could have waited another three years for number 38 to have done it.
What a fantastic couple of weeks for Cal with the birth of his first child, daughter Willow and then his first grand prix win. I’m sure Cal was down in the dumps after the first five races of the season, but as with anything, with the right mindset and the change of fortune that comes in motorsport he now has a nice Silver and Gold medal.
It’s been a real season of struggle for John McPhee having to jump off an HRC Honda onto a new bike and the ups and downs that followed. I believe a few weeks ago he was even unsure about his future and if he was going to be riding at Brno. Then suddenly in one big circle he gets that first grand prix victory. It was exciting and very nerve wracking to watch the race in the pouring rain. That moment with three laps to go with a 12 second lead was reminiscent of Pawi and his two wins in the rain. It seems to be the done thing in Moto3 that you have to scare everybody watching at least once to win a grand prix. I was also really please for the guys working on the project with him such as The Racing Steps Foundation and Mark Keen who have stuck with John throughout the tough times – People like that are gold dust.
Straight after that it was also good to see Sam Lowes bounce back to the Moto2 podium after a difficult couple of races. It was a smart ride to really consolidate that third place in the Championship. After watching Danny Kent win that Moto3 World title last year I think our expectations were for Sam to win the Moto2 title this year but it’s not that easy. This is World Championship racing at an elite level and watching the Olympics we are so very proud with people winning gold medals while understanding how difficult it is to get a Silver or bronze. Sam is doing a solid job in a very competitive class.
Those three guys will be rolling into Silverstone with such confidence. There should be a great crowd with plenty of flags and banners to welcome those grand prix winners home. I’ll be there cheering them all on.