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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Cumbrian world rally ace gearing up for quick return from broken leg

Cumbrian rally driver Matthew Wilson hopes to be back behind the wheel in the World Rally Championship in just five weeks – despite suffering terrible injuries in a fall while out fell running.

Matthew Wilson photo
Matthew Wilson

Wilson endured a heartbreaking start to the new WRC campaign when he slipped on ice and broke his left leg the day before he was due to fly out to the Swedish Rally.

It happened when he was running down Latrigg while training to get himself in peak condition for his assault on a top six place in the drivers’ championship.

He also suffered a dislocated ankle and damaged ligaments and had to be helped on the final mile back to the car by girlfriend Katie-Anne Gate, who accompanied him on the run, and a passing stranger.

She then drove him to West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, where x-rays revealed the extent of his injuries.

Wilson has undergone two operations to insert plates and screws into his leg, and is still on crutches.

The accident couldn’t have happened at a worse time as the 24-year-old, from Cockermouth, and his Carlisle co-driver Scott Martin, had just secured funding to contest all 12 of the WRC rounds.

However, he hopes to make an astonishing return in time for the Portuguese Rally on March 29.

Failing that, he could return the following month in the Argentinean Rally – the longest and most arduous event in the WRC Calendar.

Wilson said: “It was a massive blow and it has been so frustrating as so many plans have had to be cancelled.

“It was pure bad luck that it happened as a patch of ice was covered in snow and I came down.

“I knew straight away what I had done as I heard the bone break. I tried to get up but I was hot and dizzy and Katie had to get me some water from the stream to drink.

“I managed to get up and drag my foot back to the car. There was a walker who had actually fallen himself and had a cut head, but he helped me back to the car.”

Wilson is now determined to return next month so he doesn’t lose too much ground in the drivers’ championship.

He is hoping to maintain momentum after producing his best result on home soil to finish fifth in Wales Rally GB, which earned him seventh place in the drivers’ series.

Wilson said: “I’m definitely on the road to recovery and hopefully I will only miss two or three rallies.

“We are aiming for Portugal and, if my leg isn’t right for that, then I’ll be aiming for Argentina, the longest and toughest rally, which includes a 60K stage.

“But I definitely wouldn’t be daunted by that. Once I’ve got the cast off, I have plenty of time for physio and I’m still doing upper-body stuff so I haven’t lost a lot of fitness.”

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