Ian Hutchinson won three TTs this year to take his tally to 11 after nearly losing his leg five years ago.
But he’s not done yet
t seems a little strange to see retired executives washing their Volvos and elderly ladies tending their roses on the leafy streets of the Guiseley development that Ian Hutchinson calls home. This oasis of middle class serenity seems a slightly incongruous place for a man who makes his living at over 200mph to have set up shack, but the quietly spoken Yorkshireman’s life is full of the unexpected.
“It is a nice area but people here didn’t really know much about what I did until I won the five-timer at the TT in 2010,” the 36-year-old explains.
Only weeks after becoming the first rider in over 100 years of TT racing to win five races in a single week back in 2010 on the Padgetts Hondas, the Bingley man’s joy turned to despair in a BSB crash that almost cost him his left leg. Now his neighbours have been congratulating him once again after the PBM Kawasaki star confounded the critics by overcoming that massive setback to produce a brilliant treble winning display at TT 2015.
Ever since that fateful September day almost five years ago, Hutchy has been to hell and back as he battled his way to fitness through 30 operations and months of gruelling physio. That journey came to a spectacular and glorious conclusion in June with victories in both Supersport races on the Team Traction Control Yamaha, and a Superstock TT win on the PBM
Kawasaki. As he raced down the
Mountain towards the first of those chequered flags, Hutchy’s head was full of thoughts of the tortuous road he had travelled.
“As much as people say you’ve been through an awful lot, they have no idea how much I went through with all of that. From the very first stint of three weeks in hospital from the original accident, I was in and out, in and out for three years. Sometimes for weeks, with massive things going on all the time. There were 30 operations and each one of those brought its own story. I can’t even remember most of them. How can you have an operation and not even remember it? Of the 30, I can probably only remember about 10.”
After the race, Hutchy said he had been thinking about a Philipino nurse who had treated him. “He was a male nurse, and it stuck with me that somebody could be so caring,” he explains.
“I was in agony during the night with the frame on my leg and it was in a right mess. I was in the High
Dependency Unit and I just couldn’t get any sleep. I was restless, I was in pain, on morphine, my leg was never comfortable, it just went on and on. This nurse came in about 2am and he started to clean the pin sites from the frame that were all gooey because my leg was infected. He sat with me for about an hour-and-a-half cleaning it and keeping my mind off the pain.”
In spite of all the suffering, Hutchy was always determined to return to racing and not just to make up the numbers, he wanted to race to win. Throughout the five years he drove himself on relentlessly towards the goal that he has now achieved.
“There were times I was sitting on the sofa in agony and I was getting up and going to the gym to try to make my leg stronger,” he smiles.
“I put the right hand gear lever on my quad bike at an early stage because there was no way I was going to be riding a motorbike. I had to learn somehow so I had it put on the quad.
“Then there was going to the NW200 and TT in 2012 with my broken leg. I didn’t tell anybody the situation but even without knowing, people thought I was crazy – but I had my own agenda. I wasn’t going to try to win, I was going to keep an eye on things knowing that I was going to be missing 2013 (because of further treatment). When I was on that last lap of the first Supersport TT win I just thought if I had never done any of that, I wouldn’t be here now,” he says quietly.
“There were so many things that I made happen early for that day. It just took a lot longer than I had expected but it all still counted. It was worth it all.”