Paralysed former event rider Claire Lomas has been given the green light to race — on a new form of horsepower.
Claire passed her motorcycle race licence at Donington Park on 27 July and is already planning her next challenges.
“I was more nervous than when it was cross-country morning at Burghley,” said Claire.
“I reached my fastest speed so far; 100mph. The freedom is incredible.
“I hadn’t ridden with other riders so race starts and on the track with more than 30 able-bodied men was daunting.”
Claire first sat on a motorcycle two years ago when she took part in a challenge with the Bike Experience, a charity that teaches paralysed bikers how to ride safely again.
After some time away — during which she has taken on a London 10k, the Great North Run, been awarded an MBE and had her second child — she was invited to ride again at Rockingham Motor Speedway.
The 37-year-old, who has been having help from motorbike racing star Maria Costello, is planning to take part in track days and hopes to ride on circuits across Europe.
“I want to get experience — it is a bit like horseracing, or eventing,” Claire told H&H.
“You have to focus on your line and what you are doing, I’m not used to riding upsides others in a race yet.”
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The mother-of-two is now planning her next big challenge in aid of the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation — the Great South Run (21-22 October).
Claire is aiming to complete the 10-mile route overnight in her robotic ReWalk suit in one attempt.
“I’m going from being really fast on the bike to putting on the suit and being the slowest person in the whole race,” she laughed.
“This is a lot further than I have ever done in one walk before. I wanted to do something that would really push me.”
Claire was paralysed from the chest down in a cross-country accident at Osberton Horse Trials in 2007.
She made history in 2012 when she became the first paralysed person to walk the London Marathon, which she did wearing the ReWalk suit.
Since her accident, Claire has raised more than £590,000 for spinal research through numerous fundraising challenges and inspirational talks.
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