BY GILES SPENCER
Lambeth’s Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne has revealed that he’s not ready to quit racing yet after sustaining serious injuries, including a broken neck, in a crash at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk last May.
The six times British Superbike Champion, 42, will not be returning to racing this year though while he concentrates on returning to full fitness before attempting to get on a bike again.
Speaking to Motor Cycle News, Byrne said, “The problem is that the injuries are compression injuries, it’s not a case of being a straight-forward snap or break.
“It doesn’t take a genius to work out that when you’ve got loads of bits of bone floating about where your spinal cord leaves your brain and goes to your back, overdoing anything can obviously cause problems.
“In November, the doctor’s told me I could start living a bit more of a normal life and even start doing a bit of exercise.
“However, to me that’s ‘right, let’s get back on it’ so after a few, steady cycle rides I started to push myself a bit harder and you find yourself in a situation where you can’t do it. That’s not to sound soft, and I’m not complaining, I just can’t do it at the moment and that’s really hard to take.”
Despite his injuries, Byrne insists he wants to give it another go.
“It might be that I jump on a bike and realise that, like trying to ride a bicycle right now, I just can’t physically do it, I might get back on and realise straightaway that I simply don’t enjoy it anymore but equally, I might jump back on and realise what I’ve been missing for the last nine months.
“I have to find out which one it is, all I’ve ever wanted to be is what I was: a bike racer!”
Whilst everyone wishes him a full recovery and his many fans will want to see him on track again, there will also be people saying ‘Is this a step too far?’
There are a few questions that need to be asked.
Shakey will be 43 at the beginning of next season and will be up against younger and younger opposition, hungry for success. After recovering from a life threatening injury, how hard is he willing to push it against the series rising stars?
Let’s not forget the fact he’ll have been out of racing for the best part of two years as well.
His ride on the Be Wiser Ducati has gone but he’s proved in the past that he can swap manufactures with ease but how many top teams are going to take the chance and give him a ride? Maybe one of the smaller teams will for a much lower wage but will a serial winner be happy on anything less than the best, just ‘making up the numbers?’
Everyone wants to see their hero rise from the ashes to conquer all but maybe, just maybe, could it be time to call it a day on a record breaking career and seek pastures new?