PROMISING young Southland speedway motorcycle rider Adam Shuttleworth has put the demons of a horror crash behind him to win the Solo B Grade Southland Championship at Oreti Park Speedway on Saturday night.
November 2012 should have put an end to his brief career. The then 15 year old had come through the ranks at Oreti Park, claiming back›to›back Burt Munro Challenge Trophies in 2009 and 2010 in junior solos and earmarked to be a future star of the sport.
Unfortunately, this all came to an end at a club meeting when he had an horrific accident, hitting the concrete wall feet first at full throttle, prior to the installation of the now lifesaving air fence.
He was rushed to Southland Hospital with multiple injuries and underwent emergency surgeries before spending days in the critical care unit. Adam’s injuries included over 20 breaks in his leg, multiple breaks in his pelvis, a broken arm, hand, and knee, and two breaks in his back. He was told he would be lucky to walk again let alone race. Adam (18) spent more than a month in hospital and was wheelchair›bound for several months, before the long recovery to walking took place. But he was always upbeat and determined to get back up and going again. Through the ordeal Adam was positive he would be back to fight another day, and in November, after titanium rods were removed, he was given full clearance to race again, a decision that left his parents Warren and Sharleen more than a little nervous. At his comeback meeting before Christmas he was under› standably a little gun›shy but showed no signs of being scared off by the accident. He picked up a couple of third placings, but more importantly he stayed on the bike, much to the relief of his parents. Adam said ‘‘his body felt fine. There was no pain but he felt a bit buggered’’. Roll on 2016 and Saturday night. Adam was instructed by his father to ‘‘take it easy, stay on the bike and just do the laps’’. This is pretty much what he did, picking up a few minor placings. As the races went by his confid› ence started to grow and he gained enough points to make the final. Adam got a great start and passed his challengers on the outside of the same corner he had his accident on, putting the demons of that day to rest. He managed to hold the lead throughout, despite making con› tact with the wall in the last lap, to claim the B grade title. Adam said he was still a little shell shocked by the result. He knows he still has a lot of work to do, but this was the confidence booster he needed as he looks to once again progress through the speedway ranks.