A military veteran and rifleman from Clevedon, 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 one-armed motorcyclist to race the circuit alongside some of motorcycling’s most famous riders.
During the accident, Chris’ left arm was ripped off, and his right was broken so badly broken that the doctors questioned whether to rebuild it or to amputate it. He said, “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. The injuries have left me with severe 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 fortunate 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. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to do so before being discharged from the army.
Chris says, “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.”
“To overcome my struggle, I started fixing my old 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, I felt alive again. Riding a bike around a track at high speed is something that you can’t describe the feeling of unless you do it.
“It gave me a new view on life. I changed my ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’.”
Chris now races in the Thundersport GB Championship. He travels the country racing against able-bodied riders of all levels. In his first race, he finished 3rd place – an excellent 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. 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 which supports limbless veterans, a Bristol-based Motorsport PR Company, PR17, and Kingsize Photography, a company that photographs motorsport championship rounds such as F1.
Follow Chris’ progress on his Facebook page – Chris Ganley Racing.