Image credit: Tim Keeton
For those closely following Michael Howarth’s return to British Superbikes, you may know that Howie didn’t make it to Sunday’s live race at Oulten park due to a horrific crash during Saturday’s free practice that led to Howie being airlifted to hospital.
It’s with great relief that we can tell you that despite being black & blue, highly dosed up and close to becoming more metal than human, Howie is fine and in recovery, currently planning his return in time for Knockhill! He did however break his Femur, hip bone, T1 & T2 back bones, and suffered a dislocated shoulder, and has told us the full story…
The weather at Oulten Saturday 30th April started very wet, but as the day progressed the track temperature went up creating reasonable race conditions. Earlier that morning Ricky Tarren (Howie’s protégé racing in SuperSport and another of our sponsored riders) had been out on the track and had reported to Howie on conditions in certain spots to give Howie a fuller picture for his testing.
Howie said that his first lap felt fine, he didn’t feel the need for any changes and could take it up a gear for the second lap, this time attempting a knee to the floor and ranking 18th place. It was the third ill-fated lap that saw the disaster on Britten’s Corner. He made the turn, doing around 100mph, the bike almost sitting up when he hit a new bit of tarmac. The bike high-sided him flipping him in the air, but he kept hold of the bike, which meant that he landed back on the seat, which high-sided him again and threw him to the floor.
He immediately knew his shoulder was dislocated. When a race marshal that first attended Howie asked him to stand and he was unable to, it was then that they realized he had broken his leg too. Howie was taken to the medical centre where they cut off his leathers and back protector (incredibly, his helmet didn’t have a scratch on it!). They tried for some time to pop his shoulder back in whilst the air ambulance arrived. He was then air-lifted to Royal Stoke University Hospital to be thoroughly examined and x-rayed. Howie has a previous injury in his right Femur which meant that he already had a screw through the bone – and x-rays showed exactly where the old screw had been jarred by the crash, resulting in a new complete break of the Femur. It also showed that he’d snapped the ball of his hip joint clean in half. He had also broken T1 & T2 in his back, and chipped a bone in his neck.
Howie underwent an operation on his leg the following day where they tried to remove the fragments of the previous screws and place a rod parallel with the femur to allow it to heal. He’s also had screws placed into his hip joint to reattach the ball to the socket. He now has 4 screws in his leg and a metal rod, with time these will all eventually be removed.
His shoulder, now popped back into its socket just needs rest and recovery, but ironically it’s the most precarious of all his injuries and if not rested properly could result in longer time off. The bones in his back can repair by themselves with time and rest.
Howie's plan now is to move to a recovery centre in Leicester where they have a hyperbaric chamber and a team of physios who can give him all the support he needs to heal properly. After a period of healing he’ll also have to work hard on his muscle repair to make sure they’re back to full strength after time off during the healing process.
Howie and his physician consultant is confident that with the right care and treatment he’ll be back fit again in 6-9 weeks, and that gives him and his team hope that they’ll be able to make Knockhill (missing Brands Hatch). With Howie’s positive attitude and all the support he’s received both professionally and from his fans, we’re also confident he will make a speedy and full recovery. But for now, rest up Mike!