WHEN Dave Brook smashed his pelvis in a big crash at Donington Park back in April, he feared his racing days could be over.
But the Bradford rider is back at his best and reached his goal of four years when he won a GP1 race at the final Thundersport GB round at Cadwell Park last weekend.
Brook had been planning big things as the season kicked-off back in March, and had a good opening round aboard his Arkoni Racing Kawasaki, grabbing a podium in the first race.
However, it all went horribly wrong at Donington three weeks later when he had a massive off which threatened to end his career for good.
He suffered a complex fractured right acetabulum – the place where the femur meets the pelvis – and was forced to undergo surgery to get it pinned and then made to endure several weeks of bed rest.
But despite admitting he did have dark days where he wondered if it was all over, he was spurred on by the idea of getting back to fitness and back on a bike as soon as he could.
In June he started training properly back in the gym, and he also rode at a Cadwell Park test just to see how he felt on the bike. Happy with his progress, he set himself a target of returning to action at the Oulton Park round in July.
“Those outside of the racing fraternity will think I’m crazy and that I should have retired after this but the truth is the last big one I had was just as bad and that didn’t put me off when I broke both my wrists and collarbone in the same sitting.
“These things happen. You learn, stay positive and move on. I love racing bikes way too much so I can guess you could call it an occupational hazard with occupational therapy thrown in now and then.”
True to his word, he was back for Oulton but his progress was hampered by bad weather coupled with his own strength.
“Oulton Park really tested my mental strength. To come back to such a competitive championship having missed three rounds was difficult in itself which wasn’t helped by inclement weather throughout the weekend,” he revealed at the time.
But he battled on throughout the rest of the season, getting stronger and faster each time out, and as he headed to the final round at Cadwell, he was feeling the best he has all season since the crash.
And despite a crash in the first race and a non-start in the third, Brook finally got to stand on the top step of the podium after a heroic ride in race two.
“Qualifying went OK. I was second early doors but bumped down to sixth as the session went on,” he said “It wasn’t a problem though, as I could work with the second row.
In race one I tried to make a break for the front in lap one but was barged back down the grid. I settled into sixth and went faster every lap but tucked the front on a slow corner after no warning from the tyre.
“It’s an ongoing problem that I’m trying to get to the bottom of.
“The start of race two didn’t exactly go swimmingly either, after getting duffed up into turn one, I ended up seventh, but over the course of the race I built my speed and eventually went through the entire field to win the race.
“I was so pleased, I don’t think I appeared ecstatic or anything even though other’s might have been for me.
It’s just that deep down sense of satisfaction, a job well done sort of thing. That feeling is what keeps you going through the bad times.
“Race three was a non-start unfortunately, it rained just as we were about to leave parc ferme and no spare bike ruled us out of the race. But it wasn’t the end of the world.
“I’ll go in to the winter feeling good and can’t wait to get going next year with some new equipment. This is like the cherry on top after a nightmare year.”
*Images supplied by Dave Brook