TT crash rider Jamie Hamilton eyes comeback, but first he must endure long road to recovery

Jamie Hamilton and his mum Helen. INLT 35--640-CON
Jamie Hamilton and his mum Helen. INLT 35--640-CON

“It is 10 weeks and one day after my ambition outweighed my talent at the TT,” laughed Jamie Hamilton at his Ballyclare home.

As he lay back on the sofa with his right leg encased in metal rods and bolts, he looked a bit like an engineering experiment.But through it all, he was in great form and full of fun.

Hamilton may have lost some memory since a high-speed accident during the Senior Isle of Man TT in June, which has left him with serious arm and leg injuries, but he has certainly not lost his sense of humour, as I found out last weekend when I called in for a chat after he was discharged from the Royal Victoria Hospital during the week.

Jamie said: “It’s nice to have a bit of normality really, not that I can remember it as such, but I’m settling in well. It’s nice to have friends calling round for a chat and a cup of tea and going places that I usually used to go. Just to have a wee bit of normal life rather than having a nurse waking you up at half eight in the morning, poking you and asking what you wanted for breakfast.

“It’s definitely a bit of a change. Now my mum does it, although she wouldn’t be just as glamorous a nurse as what the nurses were in the Royal Victoria,” he joked with his mum, Helen, who has been at his side since the accident.

“I met up with some friends this morning for a big soda to get the diet back to normal. The pre-TT diet has started again to get ready for the next TT”.

Then he added: “The Red Cross gave me the loan of a wheelchair when I got home. Would you believe that it is painted in British Racing Green? That must be a sign that I will race again.”

The first mention of a comeback. But what of the recovery process facing Jamie now?

“Yeah, I have a long road to go. I have to go back in soon to get my leg broken so as they can start extending it (the injured leg is three centimetres shorter than the left one) and then I have to get a bone graft on my arm. They talk about the cage being on until February, 2016 and a lot of physio work before then, but we will get there.

“I’m happy with how mobile I am and how many different things I can do and I’m just hoping that none of that changes and I don’t take too many backward steps.

“So far, from I first came round from a coma, or being dead, or whatever you want to call it , my progress has been going well. At first I couldn’t move my right arm at all, but now I have nearly as much movement in it as my left arm. That’s a positive.

“I know that I’ll have to run up and down to the hospital two or three times a week for physio now that I’m home, but I would far rather do that than actually sitting in the hospital every day and not be able to get home.”

“It’s great to have Jamie home, but that’s when the work starts,” said Helen.

“ The first morning he was home though and I got up, it was great, as I didn’t have to go anywhere for the first time in over 10 weeks,” she added.

I asked if Jamie was aware he had been in everyone’s thoughts since the crash.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “My mum tells me that when she went to any shop they were asking about me. It’s funny, because everywhere I’ve gone and been recognised by the general public they have heard about my crash. It’s so weird.

“Hopefully they are thinking about me for the right reasons. It’s just a pity that I didn’t win a TT for them to be talking about me for that reason instead of the crash.”

Jamie went close to achieving a first TT podium, if not an outright win in the super twins lightweight race. He said: “Although I don’t remember it, the team have told me that the pit lane limiter was stuck on at the start of the race and it cost me at least 10 seconds. James Cowton, who started 10 seconds behind me, actually caught me before the race really got underway.

“I was 10 seconds down before I started, so if that hadn’t happened I could have been that bit further up the leader board, instead of finishing fifth, yet again.”

He has already said he wants to race again. I asked Jamie if that still stands.

“Yeah. If I can get everything right. If I can make everything strong enough, I’ll be back. I don’t plan to come back though if I don’t think everything is strong enough to ride a motorbike as fast as I used to.

“To be honest, it would annoy and hurt me if couldn’t do what I used to do on a motorbike. I don’t want to go back and just ride round making up the numbers. It’s not me at all. I would take up a different hobby.”

So the crash hasn’t put him off motorbikes?

“Definitely not! I’m interested in seeing when the next race is on and then I watch it on the TV. At some stage hopefully I’ll make a comeback.”

And if not, would he still be involved in racing?

“I would have to see how it goes when the time came. I mean, if I was working for a road race team and I felt that I could go faster than the rider it would annoy me even more.

“Ideally, I would probably like to mechanic for a full BSB team or world superbike or Moto GP team because it would be something I know as a rider I would struggle to do myself, so I wouldn’t have any conflicting issues.

“I did British Championship racing and won a superstock title, but was unable to go to the next level for many reasons, but if a rider on the roads that I was working with was under-performing, it would annoy me too much. So I wouldn’t work at that level.”

Who knows what the future holds for Jamie Hamilton. But one thing is for sure: he is a fighter.