Racing family now praying Jamie Hamilton can make quick recovery
Ballyclare's Jamie Hamilton, who was seriously injured in a 170mph crash during last Friday's blue riband Senior TT race on the Isle of Man, last night remained under critical care in Liverpool's Aintree University Hospital.
The 24-year-old was air lifted to the hospital on Friday evening after his horror crash at the end of Cronk y Voddy straight, aboard his Cookstown B.E Racing Suzuki.
Team owner John Burrows was by his side within an hour of the incident, both in the Isle of Man and Liverpool, until returning home yesterday.
It's been a traumatic time for the former racer and successful Dungannon businessman.
"Jamie is like an adopted son to me. It's been a tough few days; more so for his mum, Helen, who is still at his side, but he's in great hands and I'm very hopeful he will make a full recovery despite still being in critical care," said Burrows.
Hamilton, who was awarded the Best Newcomer Award on his TT debut back in 2012, is reported to have suffered serious right arm and leg injuries and, as expected in a high-speed crash of that nature, a worrying amount of head trauma.
Burrows said: "I need to be respectful to Jamie's family and his mother Helen especially. She's a really nice lady and is always around the team at the racing and while there's been a lot of speculation about the extent of Jamie's injuries he remains critical but stable. But, as I say, I'm confident he will pull through this."
Burrows did not refute claims that his young rider had suffered serious injuries to his right arm and leg, but didn't want to go into specifics. Hamilton obviously has a long road to recovery and with his second rider, Michael Sweeney, also out injured after a TT crash, the question now is - will Burrows' team continue to race in 2015?
He said: "When you get home to your own house and into familiar surroundings you do ask yourself, 'do I need all this' but that's road racing. Yes I have sponsors and a team to think about, but where do we find a young rider to replace Jamie Hamilton in terms of ability and personality; it's hard to find them out there.
"If I'm honest, it's something that's far from my mind right now. Yes I've still got a 600cc Honda and 650cc Supertwin machine, and the '250' that Micko Sweeney will ride again once he's fit…" he tails off, lost for words.
"Jamie comes into my house and plays with my kids and has become part of our family and we are all so comfortable in his company; I can't praise the cub enough."
Speaking candidly about a potential replacement, the B.E Racing team owner said: "It's just hard to replace a lad that wanted it so much. Yes we probably will do something, and that's what Jamie would want, but for now my only concern is for him. We will see what happens over the next few weeks."
The former factory GSX-R1000 Superbike that Hamilton crashed at the TT was all but destroyed in a fireball during the event, similar to Guy Martin's fireball crash during the 2010 TT event.
Granted the Lincolnshire ace was probably fortunate to come away with slightly less complicated injuries to young Hamilton, and remained conscious throughout his 170mph ordeal but, as Burrows explained, young Hamilton is a tough cookie.
"Jamie is a strong lad mentally and also very strong physically," said Burrows. "Once he makes a full recovery, him and I will have a talk about what he wants to do. If he doesn't come back racing - and that's not confirmed at all - I'll let him have input on his replacement."
The National Road Racing scene continues this weekend with the Carole Nash/Road Racing Ireland Kells Road Races in Co Meath on the Crossakiel circuit.