Ian Hutchinson is set to make a remarkable comeback at next week’s North West 200 after taking huge steps forward with the recovery of his broken leg over the past few weeks.
The Bingley Bullet had set a cut-off point of the end of April for deciding if he’d participate in the 2018 International Road Racing season and with the external fixator cage still on his leg at Honda’s Castle Combe test, it was beginning to look unlikely he’d be racing this year.
However, an X-Ray at the end of the month revealed his leg had strengthened enough for the cage to be removed at the beginning of last week and the 38-year-old wasted no time in getting back on two wheels, heading out with his new Honda Racing squad at Mallory Park on Friday.
Things were looking good after their first day on track with Hutchinson completing 78 laps of the Leicestershire track. In need of race signatures for his mountain course licence, he’d then enter the East Midlands Racing Association club meeting at Mallory over Sunday and Monday, winning two races and finishing second in another.
The 16-time TT winner has spent the last ten months recovering from the broken left leg he sustained after crashing out of the lead of last year’s Senior TT. He had initially hoped to be back on his feet by Christmas, but the recovery took longer than planned as his bone struggled to heal.
Despite the delay, Hutchinson has wasted no time in getting fit. He’s spent the last four months training in any way he could with the inconvenience of a large metal cage strapped to his leg, including cycling and spending time in the gym.
“I’m happy to have covered 190 laps of Mallory without any problems within a week of having the frame off and fulfilled part of my requirements for the TT course licence,” Hutchinson said after the test. “Another test at Cadwell leaves me with a short rest before heading off to the NW200. I’m feeling so lucky to be in this position and all thanks go to my surgeon Mr Krkovic for rebuilding my leg yet again!”