Leading up to a race meet in Darwin (Hidden Valley Motorsport Complex) I was participating in race practice the days leading up to the meet. I had never raced Hidden Valley before and loved it immediately.
The track was very physically demanding (I didn’t love that so much as my current aerobic activity includes chasing a two year old who is streaking around the house without his nappy) and technical which we all love. It also has the longest straight ever which means braking into turn one is an exercise in torture physically and scary as shit. I remember asking my husband who is my ‘god’ where motorbikes are concerned as he builds them for a living, “how hard can I pull that front brake lever??”. He smirked and said “until it breaks, which it won’t”.
So I did a half day of practice where my husband babysat me showing me proper race line, apexes and where I should be entering and exiting corners for maximum speed. We were having a ball.
Day 2 I arrived at the track excited to build on what I had learned from my babysitting sessions and went out for my first session. Unfortunately I did not even make one lap. I made it all the way around to the straight in a group of four bikes and turned the throttle. Whilst I didn’t need to go flat out I needed to get some reasonable pace up to start to manage braking into turn one.
Unfortunately a bike in front of me was hiding the hazard that was about to change my life. Up ahead at 3/4 of the straight length was a bike with an engine failure who had wandered onto race line (race line is a small section of the track where the fastest riders place themselves to optimise their speed around the track – the fastest line). Now this (wandering onto race line) is something that never happens and should never happen. There were also no flags on the straight warning us of danger. So I rang the neck of each gear hitting approximately 200kph at the top of fourth when the bike in front darted to the right of the failed bike (toward pit wall) and I took the normal option of going left into the open track. Unfortunately the first bike passing him at 200kph on his right very close made him move suddenly left and he clipped me. There is very little avoidant action that can be done at that speed.
Imagine travelling at 200kph on the freeway and a car slowly backs out of a driveway right into your path. It was all but impossible for me to avoid him. I am very lucky he did only ‘clip’ me as had I hit him dead on, I would most certainly have been killed.
My husband who watched everything from pit wall (right there) said he saw a red bike ‘explode’ and then he realised it was me. Can you imagine?
I hit the rider | bike and was thrown off onto the track. My bike kept going and I slid for about 100m on the track. My Arlen Ness leathers lived up their reputation and saved a lot of me.
Unfortunately the impact (how many times have I said ‘unfortunately’ kill me) caused massive trauma to my brachial plexus nerves (hence the dead arm), broke my arm, separated my clavicular joint and blew up my knee.
Here is the poor old girl post accident.