Belfast Telegraph

Bike racer Allister completes the lap that nearly killed him 12 months ago

Allister MacSorley with his mum Alex and father Fred
Allister MacSorley with his mum Alex and father Fred
Allister riding a lap of the Armoy course
Allister with the Motorcycle Union of Ireland medical team

By Staff Reporter

A race paramedic has told of the incredible moment he finished the lap that nearly claimed his life in a crash 12 months earlier.

Allister MacSorley (30) completed a lap of the Armoy Road Races course on the first anniversary of his crash on the Co Antrim circuit.

He is the son of the well-known retired 'flying doctor' Fred MacSorley and was a fixture at many motorbike races.

Allister was left paralysed from the waist down following a crash with a medical van.

But on Saturday he was able to make his way around the course accompanied by race paramedics and medics from the Motorcycle Union of Ireland (MCUI).

As he completed his three-mile lap, he was applauded by marshals, fans and mechanics.

His standard motorbike was adapted by putting the electronic gear shifter and a thumb operated rear brake on the handlebars.

He told the BBC: "I had told my dad about this idea a while back and we went over to Talan's charity that provides for paralysed riders, and that was my first time back on a bike.

"I wasn't going any quicker than about 20 miles per hour, but I was able to learn how to balance and steer.

"That was hugely emotional for us because it meant that doing the lap at Armoy was a realistic thing to do.

"Before I got on the bike I was a little bit worried that it wouldn't feel the same as before.

"Obviously I can't use my thighs and hips to steer the bike, or lean off the bike to steer into the corners.

"I thought that might take away a bit of the enjoyment but once I was out there and got away it felt amazing.

"As a rider you have that natural instinct about how to balance and control the bike, so it was just fantastic."

It was also an emotional day as his family was there watching.

"My mum and dad were both there and it was emotional for both of them," Allister added.

"We're looking at this one-year anniversary as a time to celebrate because I'm still here and I'm in a really good condition.

"That's mainly down to my own friends on the medical team here that worked so hard to save my life last year.

"I don't remember anything about the accident. It's probably better that I don't have those memories so I can move on a little bit easier."

He continued: "I've a lot on the horizon which I'm really lucky to have. I'll set some ambitious targets for the near future.

"This is quite significant - 12 months on and I'm back on a bike. I've finished my lap so feel I can draw a line under it and it's all about looking forward.

"The whole thing was just exceptional and I'm still on cloud nine at being able to achieve this just 12 months on from the incident."

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