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Pau Arnos

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by SteveA, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. SteveA


    Dec 20, 2011
    Some of you are asking why I might have 5 broken ribs.

    And someone think it isn't smart of me to have done that at 65 going on 66.

    So I will share that not everything went to plan for my last race weekend of the year. Only my third meeting of the year and in all, not a successful season.

    I went to Pau Arnos for the French VMA races and the last rounds of the FIM Europe rounds on 28 and 29 Sept.

    My third race of the weekend was a 14 lapper at about 1:40 a lap for me. As a 750 Ducati rider lapped me over half way in we were running into yellows and I saw an oil flag join them. We were going into a blind left pulling hard in 4th on Lydden gearing, the lowest final drive gearing I have.

    Then I see two bikes on the floor on the outside of the narrow track and then the rear of the Ducati in front swing out right in a way I had seen 2 other bikes do over the weekend.

    But this time there really wasn't anywhere left to go so I ran over him and then over his bike, square over his lower legs, I was concerned by that but later it seems it didn't worry him much...no bruising to be seen in the medical centre. And my wife says she saw him walking later.

    So 4 bikes were involved, the race was red flagged. I was last to join the party and remained at the top of the pile after running over the guy's legs. I was a bit winded but stood and took my helmet off...then sat down on a 'bale' that turned out to be a bag of foam rubber and I sank down. All hell broke loose with medics and stuff and off to the medical centre and some heavy doses of morphine. I broke 5 ribs, proper broke the doc said after x rays, and one of them punctured a lung and I had air and blood in the chest cavity and the lung was collapsed for a while.

    I think I was the only rider of the weekend to get helicoptered out. Not good at my age.

    At one point during the stay in intensive care they stood me up and I swear I heard to sound of sea shells rattling in a bag from my chest....of course that may have been the ketamine I told them to stop giving me......

    But...day by day. I had 4 nights in the intensive unit and 4 in a normal ward getting great care. Got home from Hospital Monday 7th in the evening after spending 10am to 6pm in ambulances travelling up to 140km/hour to cover the 750km....they beat the shit out of me...thank god for the morphine....and the forethought to keep some in my pocket for the trip!

    On Tuesday I was able to take a short walk in the garden! The weather has been less supportive on Wednesday and Thursday and I have had some pain, but I still think we are making decent progress.

    The Rickman is still in the trailer and I haven't even looked at it. I have been told damage is cosmetic only, so I am again pleased to have chosen Rickman battleship engineering over the faster turning Seeley design.

    The weekend wasn't all bad. Pau Arnos is a great little circuit in a wondeful location and I did have two decent rides I enoyed greatly on the Saturday. The FIM Europe round in particular was fun including meeting some lovely Swedish and German racers and a few visiting Brits over the weekend. And I should say again great hospitality from the French champs riders and organisers, these people know how to do race weekends. A fridge under every gazebo and the rider and his girl who fed the 5000 on saturday night were great.

    I had a good ride in the FIM race passing Kent Jorneval maybe 7 times in 9 laps, unfortuntely I still followed him over the line. Kent has the most beautiful Imola Ducati replica and I was pleased when he commented after how well the Norton goes. I was looking forward to the rematch but there you go. Riding another FIM E round next year is definitely on my list.......but....

    It is going to be some weeks before I get a look at the 3 bikes I have to build before next season, to sell, put someone else on, or ride? if I am honest who knows at this stage?

    My wife Poppy has a view, my sons have a view, personally I need to know how long before I can reliably lift 40 kilos of Norton twin motor before I take a view.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
    The Buckeye Rider likes this.
  2. storm42

    storm42 VIP MEMBER

    Jul 20, 2011
    Bugger, glad you are on the mend though. I saw the post about the broken ribs and was going to PM you but you have beat me to it.

    I guess at our age we don't bounce so well now. I can imagine the conversations you have had with the family, I get the same but we can be selfish buggers at times.

    Hope it all works out and the bike isn't too bad and I hope Gedinne is still a possibility.

  3. baz

    baz VIP MEMBER

    May 26, 2010
    That's real shit luck
    Glad your ok
  4. marinatlas


    Nov 4, 2007
    Hello Steve , wish you a good recovery my friend , was it Popie who drove the van back ? make a big kiss to her , Pierre.
  5. SteveA


    Dec 20, 2011
    No, she couldn't face it with the stress and tiredness she already had and she needed help to check on loading and hook up the 4.5M trailer to the 6M camper. She left the trailer at the circuit and 'camped' outside the hospital for a week. Then my son came over to drive it back to Normandy. He found it hard work driving the 11M rig for the first time, but he quickly learnt to watch the rear wheels an much as you watch out front and did good, and now he fully understands we couldn't get anything larger in to our 'Bocage' gateway.

    Pop over some time soon and I can give you a few light jobs unloading ;)
  6. SteveA


    Dec 20, 2011
    Thanks Ralph, I think Gedinne is a possibility, if nothing else if I am not fit by August then I would not expect to be racing in 2020!

    Bike may even be rideable now, I just don't know. I did see a footrest similar to mine on the ground after the event, but those who looked at the bike haven't said there is a gear or brake linkage hanging off!

    The guy who loaded it in the trailer knows it well enough and just mentioned cosmetics/fibreglass.
  7. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Oct 4, 2013
    Wow, get well soon Steve. And let’s hope the battleship engineering is indeed OK?
  8. Kvinnhering

    Kvinnhering VIP MEMBER

    Feb 16, 2011
    Wish you a good recovery Steve. Short Stroke Comandos must go on .
    SteveA likes this.
  9. Bernhard


    Apr 20, 2011
    Sorry to hear about your injuries sustained and here is wishing you a full and speedy recovery, in place of a "get well soon" card.

    When you have fully recovered, I suggest you get yourself down to the nearest local dojo and learn some judo break falls- I’m not saying it would have saved you- but that is what I did when I was a teenager and believe me, within 6 months you will be running down the mat and throwing yourself in the air followed by a wonderful judo roll before you come upright, as if you were a ballet dancer- I know this saved me at least 3 times so its worth learning if it prevents broken bones. . . . .
  10. yves norton seeley

    yves norton seeley

    Feb 13, 2014
    Hi Steve,
    wish you the best, dont forget: life start at 65 and you will be back on track soon
    SteveA likes this.
  11. Deets55

    Deets55 VIP MEMBER

    Oct 3, 2013
    Good luck and speedy recovery.
  12. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Mar 15, 2009
    You have my sympathy, Steve. I did the broken ribs thing back when I was a youngster of 42, and then again at 51, and I imagine it only gets worse at 65. Wishing you a speedy recovery,

  13. SteveA


    Dec 20, 2011
    In France you have to do aptitude tests and get signed off for any sport before you can participate.

    I did the motorcycle racing one at 64. It is part insurance related to reduce risk and event premiums.

    I don't think there is any sporting organisation in this country that would sign off on an overweight 66 year old recovering from broken ribs proposing to throw himself on the floor!

    Beleive you me, I won't be running anywhere, let alone throwing myself on the floor intentionally, cycling will be my excercise limit.
  14. SteveA


    Dec 20, 2011
    14 years ago I fell from a GSXR750 at Cadwell Park hairpin.....only cracked the ribs that time, certainly no puncture lung, so I am
    sure you are right, but I was travelling a little faster this time.

    Thanks Ken.
  15. Chris

    Chris VIP MEMBER

    Jan 21, 2008
    Hi Steve
    Sorry to hear about your accident. Thought you might have been pushing it but sh*t coming off on oil. God thats gauling.
    I found sleeping with my back against a cold radiator was the only way to get to sleep! Until I slumped!
    Hope you heal quick. Lots of time, recover before you play with the bike.
    All the best Chris
  16. Dances with Shrapnel

    Dances with Shrapnel VIP MEMBER

    Jul 8, 2011

    That's the shits. Having gone through four episodes of MC related broken ribs I can attest to the fact that they snap like twigs. You mentioned personal weight and I agree with you there - I think I would fare better if I dropped about 20-30 lbs. This last time I did ten ribs on my LH side - a personal best. I would entertain (freak out) my children when they were younger by letting then place their hand on my side to feel the ribs snapping and popping (like a bag of really dried twigs).

    Obviously you must abide by medical professionals but I have learned that keeping lungs working well with a spirometer was essential. Your situation with a punctured lung may be very different. The popping should stop within a few days as ribs begin to stitch up quickly.

    I can say with absolute certainty that they will stop hurting once the pain goes away. All kidding aside, wish for you to heal well and heal quickly. Use it or lose it.

    I am seeing more active armour leather race suits at the races which offer a variety of triggering mechanism from a teather and CO2 cartridge to inertial systems that know when something ain't right and trigger. I am hearing good things about them. Some are user friendly where you can restuff the deployed bladder(s) and place a fresh CO2 cartridge. Something for you to consider as you map your way back.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
    SteveA likes this.
  17. acotrel


    Jun 30, 2012
    When I race, I am always careful about where I do it. I live near Winton Motor Raceway which is an extremely safe circuit. About 60 Km away towards Melbourne we have Broadford - Reg Hunt Park, which is owned by the controlling body. At least one of the corners is blind and two are off-camber and often slippery. The blind corner is known by the idiots as 'crash corner'. There was a guy who was involved in tunning a meeting and also raced on the same day. He was killed on that corner. Some of the guys got on a forum and mentioned he was killed on 'crash corner'. It is not smart. There is always an obligation to minimise the risks to a tolerable level on race circuits, otherwise the organisers become culpable. I have never raced at Broadford, mainly because of that blind corner. When you have that on a race circuit, you can expect problems.
  18. acotrel


    Jun 30, 2012
    On Phillip Island race circuit, Turn One is blind. When the international guys come for the Island Classic, it freaks them out. If you are going fast enough, you can go around it and find everyone rolling around on the road in front of you. - Especially after the first lap of a race. After the guys spread out a bit, it is usually OK.
  19. Steves


    Oct 16, 2016
    I have been googling airbag protection. Expensive but then what value your well-being and life.
    I see that Dianese are now doing a gilet style stand alone air system, based on their motogp stuff. It will fit under or over most makes of jackets and suits. Up until know you had to buy specific leathers from them or go with Alpinestars. (Or the horse riding based tethered stuff).
    I am in the same age group as you, we don’t bounce as well as we once did!
    Next year on track I will have an airbag. Get well soon, maybe see u out there!
    N.B. About 530 quids if u can find one
    Appendum: Ixon do a similar thing.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  20. SteveA


    Dec 20, 2011
    Dances, I had been concerned that it might specifically me that had fragile ribs so I appreciate knowing I am not alone. I have a little gizmo here for lung excercise, given to me by the physio in Pau, simple but useful.

    Thankfully the rib popping seems to have stopped now. It was a bit disconcerting, especially when they had me on Ketamine!

    I saw one of the German riders at Pau wearing a gilet that looked like it had gel inserts as well as the harder armour, my wife and I had both seen it and talked about it and thought it looked a sensible addition. I will take a look at them.

    The real limitation of my current set up is space inside the two suits I have! (weight loss essential here) and that my current Dainese dorsal protector does not cover far enough out from the spine. You are going to need to be comfortable that an air bag going off isn't going to add to the general crush factor when surrounded by a suit that is too tight (again weight loss likely to be key here). That weight loss is going to need to come from a programme that includes muscle strengthening and aerobic, to help cope more with the longer races in France.

    Before riding again my clothing budget will need to address some form of armoured gilet, air bag style likely to be over budget at least at first, and new helmet, boot sand gloves.

    There will be a limit to how much I invest until I have established if I have the bottle to ride or not. And to assess how well my wife is coping with theh stress too. She has always been #1 helper, which she won't be able to do if she is worrying herself sick. I owe her more than that.

    But, it wasn't my accident, I ran into someone else's, actuallyy 3 other people's, but I will need to be sure I am not running slow and making myself a danger for others.

    We will see where we go from there. I guess I just don't feel I have done with it yet, but I need to balance it all against the fact that at most I see 3 more seasons possible, 2 more likely. And there are probably a few other things we might do a little more in our lives if I quit!
    Dances with Shrapnel likes this.

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