'Inspiring' Weston man returns to motorsport after suffering life-changing injuries in bike accident
PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 January 2018
A Weston-super-Mare man who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident has completed his first season on the racetrack.
Stuart Gibbs, aged 47, was riding home from a charity night at a motorcycle club meeting when he was struck by a car making a sudden U-turn in the road.
Stuart and his wife Lisa, who was riding pillion, were thrown from the bike.
He suffered a number of life-changing injuries, including a complicated leg fracture, nerve damage and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Following the accident in 2012, he faced years of physical and psychological recovery, including more than 10 operations and painful muscle grafts.
Many attempts were made to save his left leg, but a deep infection prevented it from healing and he chose to have the limb amputated below the knee.
Despite his traumatic experience on the road, he has remained an avid motorsport fan.
Prior to his accident, he took part in rallies and races in Germany, and decided to try four-wheel racing. This year, he competed in the JCW Mini Challenge, finishing in 20th place.
Stuart, who served in the army for 14 years, said: “There’s no doubt my life has changed since my accident, but I’ve always loved motorsport and I can’t believe I’m now competing alongside some fantastic names such as Reece Barr and Brett Smith.
“Although I’d like to get back on a motorcycle, I still don’t feel comfortable trying and without my confidence I don’t think it’s fair on other road users.
“I do miss riding, and the camaraderie which comes with going to bike meets, but my involvement in the Mini Challenge has given me something else to focus on.”
Stuart is preparing for the 2018 season, with an eye on the podium. He attributes his recovery to personal injury firm Minster Law, which secured his short-term financial stability while he was unable to work.
The company also helped with his extensive rehabilitation, before and after his amputation, and he was given access to the latest microprocessor prostheses.
Philip Austick from Minster Law, said: “Stuart’s injuries were life-changing but to see him competing on the racetrack and doing something he loves is really inspiring and demonstrates anything is possible with the right support network.”