After suffering a horrendous motocross accident at the age of 15, adapting to ‘normal’ life might have been daunting enough to many, let alone a return to the sport that left him disabled. But for Spencer Watts from Tiverton, the thought of getting back behind the wheel was the one thing that kept him motivated, despite being told that he would never ride again.
Consultants and family members told the 20 year-old to forget about motocross after the accident in 2011, when he landed on his lower back following a jump.
But with an indefatigable spirit and a steely determination not to let his injuries define his life, Spencer has become the first known disabled person in the UK to compete on a bike, which has caught the attention of Bridgestone.
Bridgestone’s commercial business consultant Shane Kallaway has provided a season’s supply of X30 Battlecross tyres for Spencer’s KTM 250SXF bike, which has been specially adapted to allow him to ride again.
Shane said: “I’ve known of Spencer for some time, having been a keen motocross rider myself and living locally.
“I don’t know of anybody else who has come back to ride after an accident like he sustained. Spencer is nothing short of an inspiration and his story is quite unique.
“Because Bridgestone’s Battlecross range of motocross tyres are so impressive, I wanted to see if Spencer would be keen on riding on them. He was really receptive and is getting some great results from them.
“We are just so pleased to be playing a small part in his set-up and are delighted to have been able to help.”
Spencer said: “The tyres are incredible. I get far more grip than the previous products I used, which is obviously a massively important factor for me.
“Shane came to me with the offer of support and I was thrilled to say yes and get the tyres fitted.”
The married man, a father to an 18-month-old boy with another child on the way, admitted that there had been some dark times and moments of introspection after the crash.
“I went through a rough patch or two, I can’t lie. I thought it was the end of my life. I was young at the time and maybe didn’t have the perspective I have now.
“I eventually counted myself fortunate. I still have the function of my body, just not my legs and there are other people not as fortunate as me.
“The first year was tough, but then I began to adapt and soon thought about getting behind the wheel again.
“The consultant said I was crazy. He told me I would never be able to ride again. My family weren’t keen on the idea either. They worried a lot.”
Spencer came in contact with the Matt Hampson Foundation, which is set up to support young people seriously injured through sport.
The organisation played a huge role in adapting a bike for him to ride on – with a special frame to keep Spencer’s legs in place – and he has barely looked back since.
“It took me a while to get used to it, but I am loving it now and I am back competing again which gives me that thrill.
“I don’t know of anyone else like me doing this. Most people would probably be too scared to get back on a bike after an accident like mine. It would be too emotionally intense to deal with.
“But I just love it. I figured that you can step out of your front door and get hit by a bus, so I don’t attach any fear to competing again. I just love being out there.”
Spencer competes in the Premier Cup in races around the UK and can usually be seen in and around the leading pack in fields of up to 40 riders – all of whom are able bodied.
“Cornering is a challenge because I can’t use my legs as a support like other riders. But my straight line speed is good and I’m competitive.
“And having Bridgestone’s support is a real boost too. It’s a nice feeling to know you’re making such a positive impression with people.
“I guess I have come a long way. I’m certainly grateful for everything I have and with another child on the way, I am a lucky man.”
For more information about this press release, contact Ben Smallman on 07833 463195 or email firstname.lastname@example.org