Mum's vigil as race ace Jamie Hamilton fights back after TT crash
The devoted mother of a Northern Ireland road racer badly injured in a 170mph crash at the Isle of Man TT has said her son is her life - but she will back him 110% if he decides to get back on a motorcycle.
Ballyclare biker Jamie Hamilton is on the long road to recovery and back in Belfast after the high-speed crash.
The 24-year-old suffered severe head, leg, and arm injuries when he came off his bike at one of the fastest parts of the 37-mile course during the Senior Isle of Man TT, the main and final race.
Jamie was initially flown by air ambulance to the Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool, but has been transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital.
His mum Helen McComb is still in shock but has been at his bedside every day since the devastating collision on June 12.
"He's talking but he's a bit confused, and has mixed emotions. I don't think it's really hit him yet," she said. "Jamie has been quite disorientated, and it's hard for him to take things in. My priority is to deal with what we can because we've to just face it.
"At least he had improved enough to be able to make the journey home. That was a big step for Jamie, me and the team."
The biker, known as 'The Hammer', is no longer critically ill, and is expected to undergo surgery on his arm and leg later this week.
Jamie is awake and knows he is in hospital, but not the extent of his injuries.
"He asked what happened, and I told him, not believing that he understands. I don't believe it's real to him," said Helen.
"The doctors are hoping with him being young and strong that he will have a shorter recovery time than someone not as fit."
Although stable, his condition is changing daily, and as doctors restrict his visitors, Jamie's one constant is his mother.
"We're very close. I'm a mother, I'm a friend, now I'm going to be the person who will look after Jamie. We've a brilliant relationship. He is my life and that's the way it is.
"I want to get my son back to full health, and I want to be at his bedside," she said. "Now that we're back home I'm trying to be with him all the time so I can get updated on his injuries."
Helen is thankful for the emotional support she has received from Jamie's team boss John Burrows and others in the motorbike community.
"Jamie was so ill I didn't want my family to see him, I wouldn't make them look at his injuries," she said. "I'm hardened to them, because I've grown up with bikes.
"This is normal for me. Other sports are also dangerous, and everyone knows the risks, but you don't expect them to come to your doorstep. It's the motorbiking community and their support that I've to be thankful for."
Helen introduced her son to the sport more than 10 years ago, but has no regrets.
"Motorbiking has been my whole life, and I got Jamie into the sport at 13. I back him 100% now, I'll back him 110% when he's better," she said.
Jamie's friends and fans have also contributed almost £9,000 to an online donation to help the rider and his family during his recovery.
"The GoFundMe response is unbelievable," said Helen.
"There's no fighting in the motorbike community. There might be a few cross words on the track, but that's because everyone wants to be a winner.
"When I get Jamie back to normality we will sit down and thank these people. I hope in the future we can talk about this and realise what everyone has done for Jamie."
Fellow Ballyclare rider Jonathan Rea dedicated his weekend race win in World Superbikes at Misano to Jamie.
Rea said: "I believed in that race and kept fighting, and I want him to keep fighting at home."