Paralysed motocross ace back on the track
Paralysed motocross ace back on the track

Former State motocross champion Matt Battista yesterday took to the track at Barbagallo Raceway in his first race since a horrific accident left him a paraplegic in 2008.

Battista, who is paralysed from the chest down, made his comeback on the same Yamaha R1 motorcycle he crashed during a race almost four years ago.

And while the father of two has to be lifted on to the bike by four people and struggles to balance when he starts and stops, on the track he could have been any other rider, tearing around the raceway at up to 250km/h.

Battista's modified motorcycle has an electric shifter system so he can change gears with his hands and the pedals have been adapted so his feet stay in.

Battista, 35, who first got back on a motorbike about six months ago, said he trained every day and was always at the gym so fitness was not a problem.

Nor was fear after his previous crash at Barbagallo.

"It doesn't bother me, it doesn't even enter my mind, what happened, I just enjoy riding bikes," Battista said.

The dream comeback almost didn't happen after an electrical switch on the bike seized early yesterday.

But after a nail-biting morning waiting to see if the bike could be fixed, Battista got off to a flying start, improving with every lap and finishing fourth in his final race.

"It was nice just to race with people, it's been a while since I've had that competitive thing," he said.

"Finished the day in one piece and everything went well so I'm happy."

Battista said he hoped his return to racing would inspire other people in his position to do what they loved.

"You just try and basically live life you did before," he said.

The West Australian

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