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Easton revisits scene of near-fatal accident
27 February 2013
British Supersport rider Stuart Easton revisited the scene of his near-fatal accident at the North West 200 in Northern Ireland on Tuesday as he prepares to return to the event in May.
Easton has joined the Ulster-based Mar-Train Racing Yamaha team for 2013 to challenge for the Supersport crown he previously won in 2002.
The 29-year-old from Hawick in Scotland will also contest the North West 200 for the first time since a serious 140mph smash in 2011.
Easton suffered a string of terrible injuries in the incident after clipping the rear of his then MSS Kawasaki team-mate Gary Mason's machine in practice, which slowed suddenly due to a suspected electrical fault.
Mason stayed upright, but Easton was flung over the handlebars and careered down the middle of the road, coming to rest some 100m from where the initial impact took place.
His injuries included a shattered pelvis, a ruptured bowel, two broken legs and serious internal bleeding, which posed the biggest danger to his life.
Thankfully, he recovered after a three-month spell in hospital in Belfast and Edinburgh and eventually returned to action in the British Superbike Championship.
During his visit to Northern Ireland for a North West 200 press conference this week, Stuart also visited the medical staff at the Royal Victoria Hospital who treated him in the aftermath of his crash.
On his return to the international road race in May – when he will compete on Yamaha machinery in the Supersport and Superbike classes – Easton said: “I can honestly say that I now know what real pain is. It is unbelievable how much your body can take but I got through it.
“I've come back to British championship racing and I've stood on the British Superbike podium since the crash, so I know that I will be fine when I come back to race at the North West this May.”
Easton finished as the runner-up in the main Superbike race at the NW200 in 2010 when he rode for Shaun Muir's Swan Honda outfit.
He also lit up the event in qualifying that year, upping the top speed record previously held by Michael Rutter to a staggering 204mph.
Martin Jessopp has since topped 208mph on the Riders Ducati at the event.
“I had a second place at the North West in 2010, the year before the crash, so there's still a box to be ticked here and so I am coming back to try to do it,” added Easton.
“I am heading into the 2013 season good to go and I'm as fit as I've ever been.
“The crash was one of those things - it wasn't my fault.
“It wasn't like I was trying too hard or anything like that, it was a machine failure in front of me and I was unlucky to clip the back of Gary's machine and that was that really.
“I think overall I was lucky to get away with it and that's the main thing.”
The diminutive Scot paid tribute to level of care he received at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and acknowledged the support of the Northern Ireland fans following the crash.
“I had so much support in Northern Ireland when I was in hospital with all the cards and letters from people,” he said.
“I was never short of visitors and there were letters from all over Northern Ireland and that really spurred me on.”
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