In this episode of Gripping Stories, we’ll dive into the story of Emiliano Malagoli, and how his motorcycle accident changed the course of his life forever and for the better. Learn how his organisation Di.Di., helps disabled motorists enjoy the thrill of racing and educates children about road and tyre safety.
The first thing I asked the doctor — I don’t know why I asked, maybe it’s because I’m mad — was “Doctor, do you think I’ll ever be able to ride a motorbike again?” The day of my accident was a normal day. Like any day. I wen to work in the morning. Back then I worked as a tourist bus driver. So when I finished work I took my motorbike, I wore my helmet and my jacket and on my way back home, where I had to change my clothes, I lost control of the motorbike, and I fell.
When I regained consciousness, my chest was touching the ground. So I was belly down and I couldn’t feel any pain. But I couldn’t move anything from my waist down. I lied there for about 30 – 40 minutes before someone came to help me. Luckily, because of the long queue of cars, a car stopped close to where I was, so those people noticed my mobile phone light from the shrubs. They started to scream and the first people to arrive were my ex-wife and my daughter, Serena. The horrendous thing is that 20 – 30 metres away from me she found my leg on the road. My accident happened on the 30th of July, 2011, but I was discharged from the hospital in December 2011.
But, I still didn’t have my prosthetic leg and I would still need to undergo additional surgeries. I went home and immediately contacted the orthopedic technician that would make my prosthetic leg. I took my motorbike to the appointment and asked the orthopedic technician to create a prosthetic leg that would allow me to ride my motorbike again. I would get on my motorbike, I would get into position and the orthopedic technician would take all the measurements to be able to create a prosthetic leg that would allow me to ride my motorbike. The goal after being able to ride again was being able to compete as well. I was also able to do that again exactly 400 days after my accident. I did a race together with able-bodied people and from then onwards, a new world opened up in front of me. I realised what I did can be achieved.
At that time there was nothing in Italy or Europe to allow disabled people to ride motorbikes again. There was no organisation to allow this to happen. So I thought, if I did it, why not give this opportunity to other people to feel what I felt when I could ride my motorbike again? So, now that I have my school and organise races for disabled people, and give them the chance to get their driving licence to drive on the roads. I will carry on racing for a while, but my goal is to give this chance to more and more people at a minimal cost because, unfortunately, this is a very expensive sport, and even more so for disabled people. So we allow more people to do this at a budget.
The most important thing of all is to pass on important values to children. So I do talks in the schools, educate children about dangers on the road, tyre safety, and warn them that people can get hurt. So we tell them to always pay attention and have healthy habits and live a healthy lifestyle.
I’d like to try and get a first place in Magny-Cours and win the championship. It would be another big dream of mine. It would be a little gift for me. I always think about others, so this is just a little something for me. So, I am training very hard. Mentally, to try and think like a professional motorcyclist, to train like one, and eat and think and drink like one. Before my accident I used to be very spoiled, and I used to like material things. I usually didn’t care much about other people. I was too self-centred. Now I am the opposite. Now I think about others more than I think about myself. I prefer the current Emiliano, without a leg. I am very satisfied with my life. I’m very satisfied with myself and what I do. I wasn’t happy before.
Home to one of the world's biggest motorcycle races, the Suzuka Circuit is the first full-scale international racing course in Japan. Racers Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark share what it's like to pilot a motorcycle around the famous 6km course and how they master the intricate corners to gain a competitive edge.
On a bike, you don’t just go from A to B. You float from story to story. There are gems to be found in every mile. Every bend. Every smile. With Gripping Stories, we aim to capture these moments and share them with the world.