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Photo: New to the Rea family, baby Jake Rea!

 

My year has not gone to plan and it is frustrating when you have to sit out races through injury but this is what I faced at the end of this season. After a very tough start to the year developing the CBR1000RR we had finally got a race win under my belt at my home round in Silverstone, and then at the very next round I was air lifted out of, due to crashing heavily on another rider’s oil spill. It kind of perfectly describes my feeling when I tell people that the high’s of our sport are unbelievably high but the lows are punishingly low.

When I signed up to race for Pata Honda this season my expectation was that we could fight for the top 3 in the World Championship but after late arriving new development parts, we spent the rest of the year catching up to our rivals. Slowly but surely we were getting there and with quite a few podiums this season and sipping the champagne from the top step I was ready to end our season high before disaster struck.

It was on the final two laps of race 1 in Nurburgring and I was locked in an intense battle at the front with the two BMW’s and the Kawasaki when I got caught completely off guard and crashed at around 200kph on the oil. I can remember at the exact moment when my femur broke and I was in so much pain. When I was laying there I lifted my neck and saw the fracture through my leathers as my leg was at a sickening angle. At that moment my first thought was, “s$@t Tarsh could go into labour anytime with our first child,” and therefore relayed some info to one of our track guys to let her know I was ok but my leg was broken! After getting all diva like and demanding pain killers I was assessed at the medical centre and flown to Koblenz hospital where a few hours later I would be under a general anaesthetic and operated on, to insert a nail inside my femur with two anchored screws in my hip and two screws in my knee.

After spending a few days on my back, my team organised a private plane to fly me back to the Isle of Man and the feeling of getting home was great. I would start my rehab program straight away after my doctor checked me out because we had to keep my muscles in my leg strong. Fortunately the range of motion was near to normal straight away and the swelling would go down after spending countless hours in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber here on the Isle of Man.

Only weeks later on the 27th September, while my team were in Laguna Seca - USA, my wife and I welcomed our baby son Jake-Elijah Rea into the world. If there were ever a time to be injured then this would be it. I got to spend the most important weeks of his life with him and it was an incredible experience. He is such a cool little character and he has decent sleep pattern already, which is a big help. I’m actually sat writing this blog and he is looking at me smiling so it is so so rewarding when he interacts.

I’ve just got back from my first proper test session for the 2014 season at Aragon in Spain. I will remain with the Pata Honda team for next season and we are confident that our efforts in development from the 2013 season and a long winter of testing will stand us in good shape to mount a proper challenge in 2014 World SBK Championship. The test went really well and the bike has come a long way from the race we had at Aragon at the start of the season so measuring our improvement was easy. I’m also happy to have the same crew around me and we have also a new electronic engineer in Max Neri joining me to further strengthen our team.

I’m getting ready to leave for MCN Live where I will be joining the Carole Nash guys and girls on Saturday before jetting off again for further testing next week. I just want to say a massive thanks to everyone at Carole Nash for supporting me through these though times and I look forward to the next chapter!

Watch this space.
JR

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