Belfast Telegraph

Rally star Biggerstaff on road to recovery

By Sammy Hamill

One driver who won’t be in action when the Northern Ireland rally season kicks off with the traditional New Year’s Stages on January 15 is Stuart Biggerstaff.

It was this event 12 months ago that saw Biggerstaff make his rally debut and an impressive second place behind reigning Northern Ireland champion Derek McGarrity proved to be the prelude to the 22-year-old from Kinallen going on to win the Northern Ireland title at his first attempt.

But Biggerstaff is currently recovering from a nightmare pre-Christmas in which he was struck down with appendicitis ... but spent over 24 hours on a trolley in A&E before his appendix burst and he had to be rushed into theatre.

“It started with pains in my stomach and the doctor sent me to the Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn who transferred me to the Royal Victoria in Belfast,” he explained.

“But I was stuck on a trolley for nearly 26 hours before my appendix burst and I was then rushed into theatre.

“Then I picked up an infection and I had to be taken back to theatre again and the wound has had to be left open ever since.

“And that was more than six weeks ago.

“I don’t think I’ll be driving rally cars for a little while yet.”

Biggerstaff is matter-of-fact about the whole ordeal but his dad Denis, a former Northern Ireland champion himself, is much more graphic.

“If Stuart hadn’t been young and fit he could have been a goner,” he said.

And he thinks that his rally activities played a part in Stuart’s survival.

“He only started to go to the gym and on to a fitness regime last year as a result of the Hankook Driver Days instigated by the tyre company as part of their sponsorship of the NI Rally Championship,” he said.

The Biggerstaffs had planned for Stuart to start the season with the New Year Stages at Kirkistown on January 15 — and clearly that won’t be happening now.

However, he is targeting the first round of the 2011 championship at the same venue on February 19.

“It all depends on how soon they can close up the wound and then wait for it to heal,” said Biggerstaff.

“But the first round of the championship is the target and gives me something to look forward to.”

Meanwhile, entries for the New Year Stages close this weekend and the contact number is 028 42771325.

Belfast Telegraph

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