Champion road racer from Barton-le-Clay who cheated death vows to fight motor neurone disease
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A Barton-le-Clay man who stood on the podiums of the world-famous TT motorcycle road race before a brick-wall crash left him paralysed for six months has vowed to fight his motor neurone disease (MND) diagnosis.
Nigel Piercy, 61, competed against the world’s greatest road racers on the dangerous Isle of Man mountains – securing 17 trophies and three podiums including a second place to legendary professional Paul Williams due to a bike breakdown.
His success took him to a street circuit race in Macau, China where an 80mph crash into a brick wall left him fighting for his life and paralysed from the neck down, putting an end to his illustrious career.
After cheating death and despite breaking almost every bone in his body during his race career, Nigel is once again showing his fighting spirit despite a motor neurone diagnosis.
The father-of-two who has over 100 trophies for converted, first, second and third place in races across the UK, said: “Watching the TT races on the tv brings it all back. I was completely fearless, you had to be. It was so dangerous and over 265 lives have been claimed by the race which saw competitors in my day reach speeds of up to 170mph.
“The course is narrow and is physically demanding. My heart felt like it couldn’t beat any faster, but the adrenaline spurs you on. You’ve got to get it right; I was among 70 to 80 starters and if you didn’t you could crash right into a wall or a house. But I was never nervous and if it wasn’t for my daughters and if I still could, I’d definitely line up again.
“I’ve had two near fatalities while racing and I’ve broken almost every bone in my body. I had a big crash when I was 20 in Norfolk and my helmet came off and I was left unconscious, they said my heart stopped.”
It was after this race that Nigel, an electrician, went to Australia to work but on his return to the UK his passion for bikes saw him compete in the Manx Grand Prix three times before racing the TT six times.
Nigel said: “I’ve always been an optimistic person and I just loved racing – who wouldn’t want to be part of the most famous race in the world.
“I was broken when the crash in Macau ended my career but I’m glad I was able to recover and slowly regain the use of my legs and go on to lead a happy life and have my two girls.
“To have this motor neurone diagnosis now is devastating. Slowly losing my mobility is rubbish. I used to be strong going right back to when I was a cross-country and running champion at school but while there’s no cure, I’m going to fight every day and I try to keep as active as possible.”
John Tillisch, owner at Park House Care Home said: “We’re delighted to have Nigel join us as part of our Park House family. It’s fantastic to hear his tales of racing and the worldwide travel he’s done, plus he makes a wicked chow mein.
“He’s always positive and battles to maintain his mobility so we’re happy for support him to remain as independent as possible.”