Injured BTCC champion Neal expects to be fit for start of season

British Touring Car champion Matt Neal believes he will be fit to return for the opening round of the season after suffering serious injuries in a mountain bike accident

Injured BTCC champion Neal expects to be fit for start of season

The 53-year-old fell during a ride with a group of friends last weekend and suffered a clean break to his clavicle, multiple fractures to shoulder, a broken rib and a punctured lung which then collapsed.

The Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R driver was taken to hospital in Worcester where he was treated by the Worcester Acute Hospital NHS Trust.

Neal, who was released from hospital on Wednesday, is now recuperating at home and already has his sights on the beginning of the campaign on March 28-29 at Donington - though will miss pre-season testing.

"The doctors have told me that I will definitely miss the pre-season test sessions," the three-time title winner said.

"But I should be back in time for Donington and I am going to win the opening race of the year - you can quote me on that!"

Neal explained that the accident had happened as he was taking avoiding action among a train of his friends who were cycling through woods, which is a hobby he partakes in on his free weekends.

"We were on a really steep downhill section - it is so fast that you simply can't stop, you have no chance," he said.

"The guy who was riding in front of me fell off, and I was in his wheeltracks. I had a choice: either go over him, which would have caused injuries to him, or try and avoid him.

"I looked to the left and I could see a tree, but there was a track behind that. I figured I could use that as an escape route.

"But, as I veered off course, the ground was really soft and the front wheel of my bike dug in and flipped me over the handlebars.

"I did a superman impression into the tree. I shoulder charged it, and that is what did the damage.

"Six inches to the left and I would have made it through unscathed, and six inches to the right and I would have head-butted the tree, so it could have been worse."

Neal was visited by his former Team Dynamics team-mate Gordon Shedden on Thursday, and says that the incident has not put him off riding.

"I have already ordered a new bike," he said. "But my first job is to take a present to the fabulous staff at Worcester Royal Hospital, who treated me magnificently."

shares
comments
Three-time BTCC champion Matt Neal injured in bike incident
Previous article

Three-time BTCC champion Matt Neal injured in bike incident

Next article

BTCC 2020: Ollie Jackson to race newly built Motorbase Ford Focus RS

BTCC 2020: Ollie Jackson to race newly built Motorbase Ford Focus RS
How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test Plus

How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test

Expectations were high for the start of the British Touring Car Championship’s hybrid power era, and despite nerves and problems to solve prior to its debut the new rules gained widespread approval. Here’s how the first test at Donington Park was passed and the thorough examinations that are to follow

BTCC
Apr 28, 2022
The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions Plus

The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions

Reigning BTCC champion Ash Sutton and Porsche Carrera Cup GB victor Dan Cammish form a potent line-up at the Motorbase-run NAPA Racing team as the series adopts hybrid power. With Sutton bringing the key components of his title-winning Laser Tools Racing set-up, and Cammish eager to prove a point on his return, their dynamic is set to be one of the season's major talking points

BTCC
Apr 21, 2022
The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on Plus

The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on

Veteran team manager Marvin Humphries and former Tech-Speed team boss has worked not only with stars of the British Touring Car Championship, but legends including Gil de Ferran, Hans Stuck and Tom Sneva in a long and varied career that has spanned five decades across tin-tops, single-seaters and sportscars

BTCC
Feb 4, 2022
The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star Plus

The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star

Having started out in club-level competitions alongside his own university engineering studies, Josh Cook's journey to becoming an established frontrunner in the British Touring Car Championship is atypical. But it's these experiences that have moulded the 30-year-old into a humble star, respected throughout the paddock

BTCC
Jan 12, 2022
Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021

A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Autosport picks out the best performers

BTCC
Nov 17, 2021
Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton Plus

Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton

Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities

BTCC
Nov 12, 2021
The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59 Plus

The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59

OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too

BTCC
Nov 11, 2021
The making of the BTCC's newest superstar Plus

The making of the BTCC's newest superstar

Ash Sutton is on the verge of being crowned a three-time British Touring Car Champion; he seems to have it all. But life hasn't always been straightforward for this superstar of touring cars, as Marcus Simmons has been finding out

BTCC
Oct 21, 2021