After winning race two at Misano in June, Jonathan Rea, who would go on to win the World Superbikes Championships in September, tweeted “Went 2-1 for the overall today! This one is for you, Jamie! #hammertime #keepfighting.”
And he has kept fighting.
The 2015 season proved to be a tough year for Ballyclare’s Jamie Hamilton. Since the local rider’s high-speed crash during the Senior TT on June 12, it has been a long, pain-suffering recovery to where he is today.
The Times caught up with him in his Ballyclare home just after Christmas to see how the recovery is coming along and hear from the man himself about the months that have passed since the crash.
“My first recollection of the crash was waking after three weeks of unconsciousness to see the cage on my leg and my mum looking down at me. It sort of dawned on me then that I must have had a big bike accident,” he recalled.
“Since then I took an infection that kept me in hospital for a further six weeks. When I did get out and home it was for a full month but I always knew that I had to go back in to hospital as my right leg, which had six and a half centimeters broken out of it in the accident, had to be broke again for me to start extending it to make it the same length as my left one. That was September and it has been three months of adjusting the cage to make the leg the right length. On the 18th of December I had two legs the same length,” he said.
“After the crash I planned to get the cage off at Christmas but that has come and gone and there is no sign of it coming off any time soon.”
The general timescale for the removal of the cage is twice the length of time it took to do the adjustment, so there’s a possibility of it staying on for six months.
Jamie, however, has other ideas. “I’m going to do a few things that hopefully will speed up the process,” he revealed. “I plan to go to Ipswich for laser treatment and cycle my bike to help to get the blood pumping around the body and keep putting pressure through the leg to help the bone growth that should speed it all up and I get the cage off sooner.
“I’m still having problems with the feeling in my fingers but there is a good chance that it will return.”
In reflection, he added: “There are people who crashed at the Ulster Grand Prix when I was in the Royal and they have their cages off and back to work and I feel that I’m stuck in a rut still doing the same thing.
“I know that we all complain about work from time to time, but at this moment I would love to be doing a day’s work. It’s a very slow process compared with anything that has happened to me before but I suppose I’ll just have to work hard to get through it.”
For the immediate future Jamie will still be an integral part of John Burrows’
Cookstown BE Racing team, as he explained: “As I get fit again I will help John and the team when they go testing and racing.
“With 20-year-old Malachi Mitchell-Thomas a new rider in the set-up, all the circuits will be new to him so between John and myself we can pass on a lot of knowledge to teach him where he is going.
“John has already told me that if at any time during the season I feel that I’m capable of riding a motorbike, there’s always a bike there for me to go testing and see what I think then.
“The one thing I have always said though is that I have no interest in returning to racing unless I’m as competitive as I used to be. I’ll not know that until I try but in the meantime I have to concentrate on getting fit. I must take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me since the crash. It has meant so much.”