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With the north east wind whipping across Thruxton Race Circuit I enjoyed a day of spectacular British Superbike racing last Sunday with thrills and spills aplenty. Most of the spills being passengers thrown from their maniacal sidecars, unable to hang on in there any longer on this, the fastest circuit in the UK. I won’t bore the non motorcyclists out there with blow by blow accounts of the races – for the motorcycle fans, you already know where to look! However, I do have to tell you about a man I watched who is a real inspiration to us all.

He started his sidecar racing career as a passenger in 1987 notching up some pretty good results until August 1994 when the worst happened. A horrific accident in a practice session between races resulted in a spinal injury, paralysis from the waist down and a wheelchair for life. A year later he was helping out his old team again and in August 2000 built his own bike with the necessary adaptions for him to race as driver. His race on Sunday was as close and crazy as you could get, battling for second with wheel to wheel action (literally!) for much of the race but finally being pipped to the post and finishing in third. On his website he writes “Shit happens – see you out there!” For me, he drives home the message seen on so many Land Rover windscreens because it sounds cool, “One life. Live it” …… only he REALLY does!

Sadly Thruxton is not a circuit for photography unless you have a monster lens, press pass or preferably both! This photo is one of my favourites from Brands Hatch in October last year where a 70-300mm lens shooting through the fence can give a decent result. I chose this spot at Druids for its good clean background and the action is courtesy of Swiss rider #24, Patric Muff, backing his Tyco sponsored Honda into the famous hairpin bend.

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

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