Paralysed fundraiser completes a lap of Silverstone at the British Superbike round for charity
Disabled fundraiser Claire Lomas MBE has completed a lap of Silverstone at the 2018 Bennett’s BSB round. She rode a specially adapted Ducati SuperSport S for the lap and plans to ride at every circuit on the BSB calendar.
Paralysed from the chest down by a horse riding accident 11-years-ago, Claire set herself the motorcycling challenge after her plan to ride a lap of the 37.73 mile TT course at the Manx Grand Prix was cancelled by event organisers.
If someone showed me these photos when I was lying in hospital having found out I am paralysed from the chest down and told me ‘this will be you one day!’ I would never have believed it. I had never even sat on a motorbike! Thanks @DucatiUK #ducatisupersport #Mondaymotivation pic.twitter.com/f6DGcZZVrq— Claire Lomas MBE (@claire80lomas) September 10, 2018
'I'm very excited'
"I’m very excited. It’s a huge honour and I hope to one day do the Manx lap. I will keep in touch with the organisers," Claire said.
"I have been over to the island a couple of times and they initially offered me the opportunity to ride a lap in February."
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Understandably disappointed by the cancellation of her first challenge, which was set to go ahead on August 29, Claire turned to Twitter in search of a replacement charitable activity.
Very disappointed to be informed on Friday that my charity lap in the Isle of Man will not go ahead. I really felt ready for it. I have worked hard to improve and build strength. Thanks for all support - I now need a new motorbike fundraising challenge ! Ideas please? pic.twitter.com/jXt9zfAZow— Claire Lomas MBE (@claire80lomas) July 2, 2018
It was here that Series and Race Director of the British Superbike Championship, Stuart Higgs, first made contact.
"It all just happened from Twitter, really. Obviously I was disappointed, because I was geared up to go to the Isle of Man, but I’m so appreciative of this opportunity," Lomas said.
Claire plans to ride her first lap at the Silverstone round of this year’s championship on September 9 and will follow the series into the 2019 season to complete all of the tracks BSB has already visited this year.
Hello Claire, by all means drop me a DM we would be interested in helping you accomplish your goals and furthering this incredible story. Best wishes.— Stuart Higgs (@stuarthiggs) July 3, 2018
Upon announcing that Claire’s charity lap would no longer take place, the Manx Grand Prix released a statement, saying: "The Manx Motor Cycle club were very keen to support the remarkable Claire Lomas when she approached us about her ambitious attempt to lap the TT Mountain Course on a solo motorcycle.
"However, we have concerns about her level of experience in motorcycling to date and the demanding nature of the challenge that she has set herself."
Claire had her first taste of motorcycling after her accident through the charity The Bike Experience, who help disabled riders get back on two wheels.
'Imagine trying to ride something you can't feel underneath you'
"I differed from most people who use the charity because I had never ridden a bike before," Claire said.
"I have enjoyed it, but learning a new thing gets more fun as you get better. Imagine learning to ride a bike on something you can’t feel underneath you and then someone strapping you onto it. It’s quite daunting.
"Rockingham Motor Speedway has been very generous, as they let me go there to practice before I had my ACU racing licence. They also let me use the infield to practice my slow manoeuvres."
To donate, simply visit the Just Giving page on www.claireschallenge.co.uk