Hare hails safety device

LAWRENCE Hare today hailed a safety device that would have saved him from spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.Hare snapped the top of his spine in a speedway crash at Newport in 2002 and has been left with limited movement above his waist.

By Elvin King

LAWRENCE Hare today hailed a safety device that would have saved him from spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

Hare snapped the top of his spine in a speedway crash at Newport in 2002 and has been left with limited movement above his waist.

Living in Ipswich and watching The Evening Star Witches in action at Foxhall Stadium whenever possible, Hare is convinced he would still be walking - and possibly riding speedway - if he had been wearing a Leatt neck brace.


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This has been developed over the last four years by South African neurosurgeon Chris Leatt, who is a keen motorcyclist.

“If it had been around in 2002, I would still be walking now,” said Hare. “Having looked at my crash helmet, I am sure I would have suffered no more than a broken collarbone or shoulder - no big deal in comparison to where I am now.

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“I landed upside down with my head off a bit to the side.

“I was wearing a conventional back protector that protects the back from impact but doesn't go above neck level.

“With my neck not held as tightly as it would have been in a Leatt brace it snapped.”

Hare has been asked to promote the new brace and he would like to see every speedway rider using it by 2008.

It is already being used in moto-cross and by motorcyclists in the Paris to Dakar rally.

Witches' skipper Chris Louis tested it at Foxhall after a recent meeting, with Hare pleased with the response.

“Chris said that it was unobtrusive and that he did not know he was wearing it,” said Hare.

“It keeps the head still on impact and has been designed to halt an increasing number of spinal injuries that are taking place in motorcycling events.”

Former moto-cross rider, Karl Prestwood, is importing and distributing the brace in this country and he has asked Hare's help to make all speedway riders aware of its existence.

“Sales have gone from zero to hundreds in the last few years. I can provide more information or people can contact Karl through the internet,” said Hare, who was delighted to see another former Ipswich rider, Toni Svab, back on his feet.

“Toni was in a coma for a long while after his crash in Argentina and it is great to read that he was at Foxhall Stadium last week and looking well.”

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