Motorbike rider Don Gilbert says he was lucky not to lose his leg after a horror crash at the Isle of Man Grand Prix last month.
The world-renowned race is without doubt the most dangerous and challenging race and almost ended up being the Horsham rider’s last.
The 24-year-old’s Ravenol UK racing Yamaha R6 had been faultless for the whole two weeks of the event on the island up until the final race.
Fellow racer Nicolas Pautet missed a gear in front of Gilbert causing him to hit the rear of the rider, somehow trapping him in the back of the bike dragging him down the road at over 120mph.
Gilbert said: “It was intense, my leg somehow got trapped in the back of the bike and the rear wheel was dragging my leg into the bike, finally we both came to a stop.
“I came away with severe full thickness burns to the back of my right leg and was airlifted to Nobles Hospital where I was told surgery in the UK was required as soon as possible.
“After a long drive back from Liverpool, I went straight to the hospital and underwent two skin graft operations, the first one was unsuccessful and I have only just started recovering, I was very lucky not to lose my leg.”
Practise week was mostly cancelled due to bad weather and accidents, so Gilbert only had four laps under his belt before race one - which was four laps of 37.6 miles.
He achieved a personal-best average lap speed of 102mph putting him in 20th place out of 60 starters.
In race two three days later, Gilbert started 47th on the road before disaster struck on lap two with the serious accident.
The experienced racer is set to make a full recovery and 2016 is already looking as though it will be a successful season.
He will be riding for Exactweld Racing, riding their 250cc Grand Prix machine in the International Classic Grand Prix, as well as racing the Ravenol UK Yamaha R6 in either the British Supersport Class or chase the top step again in the Thundersport GB 600s.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!