BRADFORD motorcycle racer Dave Brook took two emotional podium finishes at Anglesey – almost a year to the day after a huge crash there almost ended his career.
Brook, who came second and third, missed the end of the 2017 season after a serious off at the Welsh track left him with a severely damaged leg which kept him in hospital for almost a month as he underwent numerous operations.
He had a cage removed from the leg early this year and has been steadily working his way back to full fitness this season, improving with every outing.
But his season finally turned the corner as he returned to the scene of the crime, firstly qualifying third in wet conditions aboard his Team Arkoni Racing BMW.
Brook said: “Getting third was a huge relief for me as there had been a power cut just before we went out which meant I didn’t have a very accurate pit board so I had to just try and be fast and smooth, which luckily was good enough for the front row.”
After struggling to find a wet setting for the opening race of the weekend, Brook eventually finished sixth, but was determined to make amends the day after.
However, although that brought dry conditions, it also gave Brook a bigger job to do as his fastest race lap on Sunday was only quick enough to put him seventh on the grid.
After a strong start in the first race of the day, he was quickly up to fifth position, and began to climb further through the pack, moving into third on lap 10 and second a lap later, being runner-up at the chequered flag.
The final race of the weekend followed a similar pattern, and this time Brook fought his way up to third by the end of the fifth lap, holding that position all the way to the finish line.
He said: “Race one was hard because we’re still finding a wet setting on the BMW and it’s just the second time I’ve ridden in the rain, so the race didn’t really pan out as planned.
“Having to start from seventh on Monday was a pain, so I was really happy to get a second and a third from there.
“I had to barge my way through in the early laps to find a clear track, and then be as accurate as possible for the entire race.”
Brook’s return to the podium came a remarkable 364 days after his crash, and he admits it was one of the most significant results of his career.
He said: “Anglesey was a real milestone for me. Everyone around me has been so positive – my sponsors, family and friends. I have to admit, in 12 months I have even surprised myself at how well I’ve recovered.
“I had an amazing surgeon, Mr Forster at Leeds – he’s a great bloke who quickly realised he wasn’t dealing with a normal person.
“I went from being told I could lose my leg, wouldn’t ride a bike again and feeling an overall sense of impending doom to be standing on the podium at the same circuit 12 months later. That felt good.”
Arkoni managing director Mark Prentice was thrilled to see Brook back on the podium, saying: “Dave has impressed everyone with this stunning performance at the scene of his horrific crash last year.
“We have always believed in his ability and determination, and now he’s just shown what we all knew he was more than capable of.
“Up until his accident, he was a consistent front-runner and now he’s back where he belongs.”