Paralysed rider set to race again
A TEENAGE moto-cross rider is preparing to race again less than a year after a horrific accident left her paralysed from the waist down. Laurie Squirrell, from Hitcham, near Stowmarket, will be competing at the Weston-Super-Mare beach race on Saturday on a specially-adapted quad bike.
A TEENAGE moto-cross rider is preparing to race again less than a year after a horrific accident left her paralysed from the waist down.
Laurie Squirrell, from Hitcham, near Stowmarket, will be competing at the Weston-Super-Mare beach race on Saturday on a specially-adapted quad bike.
Just three months after she aced her driving test after only "eight or nine" lessons the 17-year-old will be taking another huge step on the road to independence when she enters her first solo race since the accident.
Laurie spent months in hospital after breaking her back in a high-speed crash as she was practising for her first professional moto-cross race in San Antonio, USA, in November last year.
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When she returned home in March she quickly set her sights on learning to drive and is now looking forward to her new challenge.
Laurie said: "I wanted to do the race last year on my motorbike but my dad wouldn't let me so after my accident I decided that I wanted to do it on a quad instead so I applied and got a place.
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"Around 500 or 600 people take part and I really can't wait to get going. I'm really excited because it should be great fun.
"My bike has been specially adapted because I kept sliding off so I've got a different seat on it to keep my bum in place, Velcro to hold my knees to the tank and the foot plates have been specially made to keep my feet secure."
The Kawasaki 700cc quad bike that Laurie will be riding for the competition has been specially modified by her dad Richard.
He said: "I've been working on it for a little while now because I knew she wanted to compete next week and actually it's only just been finished.
"Basically the main change is in the seat so that she can sit in it rather than on it because otherwise she keeps moving around.
"I'm sure she'll be fine. I didn't have a lot of choice in the matter to be honest because it's up to Laurie and she said she was going to do it whether I liked it or not. There was no stopping her when she got her mind fixed on the idea.
"She's so confident in everything that she does. The driving test was a big turning point because now she's always moving around and we hardly see her."
After the race Laurie will be starting work for moto-cross clothing company So-Cal.
"I've got a meeting with them next week to talk about what I will be doing, which should be stuff like promotion and sponsoring other riders, so hopefully I should begin work on the Monday after the competition," she said.
"It's mostly based in Ipswich so I won't have to go too far. I'm really looking forward to it and I can't wait to get started.
"Since passing my driving test I've been out and about all the time and it's given me a lot more independence. Just the other week I went over to the Isle of Wight to watch a moto-cross grand prix which was really good."