A military veteran and rifleman from Clevedon, Bristol who suffered extreme and life changing injuries after a motorcycling accident now aims to race at the ‘deadly’ Isle of Man TT in 2023. Chris Ganley, 28, hopes to make history by being the first to race at the TT with only one arm.
During the accident, Chris’ left arm was ripped off and his right arm was broken so badly that the doctors questioned whether to rebuild the arm or to amputate it. He says, “my injuries were horrific. In addition to losing my left arm and coming close to losing my right, I also broke my spine in three places which has left me with nerve damage and weak muscles in my core and back.
“I also suffered a bleed on my brain, broken ribs and popped lung – I’m very lucky to be alive.”
The incident didn’t change Chris’ passion for motorcycles. After being a mechanic for his Sergeant Major at a race weekend at Donington, Chris bought a Yamaha YZF 600 Thundercat and was hoping to race for his army’s team, but devastatingly, he never got the chance to do so as he was discharged from the army for the injuries sustained during the incident.
Chris says, “When I sustained the injuries I tried so hard to come to terms with what had happened to me. I was in a very dark place and I wanted the struggle to end. I didn’t think I would be able to ride a motorcycle again – something I loved doing was denied to me.
“To overcome my struggle, I started doing up my bikes so I could sell them but I knew I had to try one last time to ride them. If it didn’t work, at least I’d know I had tried.”
Chris booked a track day to see if he could ride his motorcycle with one arm. He added, “Once I made it out on track with my bike it gave me a reason to live again. Motorsport is something that you can’t describe the feeling of unless you do it.
“Being back on the bike gave me a new view on life. I changed my ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’.”
Chris, who has completed his rehabilitation at Headly Court, a rehabilitation Centre for injured soldiers, now races in the Thundersport GB Championship. He travels the country racing against able- bodied riders of all levels, including ex British Super Bike riders. In his first race, he finished 3rd place - an outstanding reflection of hard work and determination after experiencing life changing injuries.
Chris now aims to race in the ‘world’s deadliest race’, the Isle of Man TT, by 2023. He adds “The closer I am to death; the more alive I feel. Racing at the TT will be a huge risk as it’s renowned for claiming countless lives but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”
Recently, he has gained the support of various sponsors including Blesma, a charity who supports limbless veterans, a Bristol-based Motorsport PR Company, PR17, and Kingsize Photography, a company that photographs motorsport championship rounds such as F1 and celebrities.
The next race in Chris’ calendar is Oulton Park, Cheshire, on 23rd September followed by the championship final at Donington Park, Derby, on 21st October.
Chris’ progress can be followed on his Facebook page – Chris Ganley Racing. Alternitively, more information can be found at www.chrisganleyracing.co.uk