Following his high speed crash in Croatia, reigning World sidecar champion Ben Birchall is to have skin grafts to his back and will undergo an operation at Nottingham City hospital on Tuesday. (June 29)
Birchall, with younger brother Tom in the chair clipped a kerb in free practice while preparing for the world championship round at Rijeka in Croatia a week last Friday. The outfit turned turtle and skidded down the highly abrasive track with Ben trapped underneath.
After initial treatment at the local hospital Ben returned to the circuit and with the aid of some pain killers was able to qualify and complete both of his world championship races, finishing an incredible third in the 20-lap Gold race before flying home for further treatment.
He went directly to the King’s Mill hospital in Mansfield where the plastic surgeon told him he would need skin grafts to aid the healing of his back injuries.
Further examination also revealed two fractures in his lower back which were classed as stable and would not require further treatment as they would heal on their own.
“I realise now that I really was not fit enough to race in Croatia,” said Ben. “But I didn’t want to disappoint my loyal sponsors and team who have been so supportive so I thought I would give it a go. With the aid of a pain killing injection at the circuit I was able to compete and pick up some points but it’s not something I would like to do again in a hurry!”
“It’s a shame the crash happened as it took away my chance to take the lead in the world championship. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have won at least one of the two races that weekend but I will be back in action for the next round at Sachsenring in Germany where I hope to be back on form.
The Mitchells of Mansfield supported world champions missed the Oulton Park round of the Battle of Britain F1 sidecar championship at the weekend but Ben should be fit to continue the championship at the next round in August at Cadwell Park. Likewise the next round of the world championship in Germany is not until July 18 giving Ben a three week respite in order to recover from his surgery.