“I’m buzzing to get back out on track. Next year, my goal is to get as many podiums as possible. For now, though, I’m just waiting around to get the all clear to begin training again.”
These are the words for 2015 Moto3 World Champion, Danny Kent, following the season which, due to an injury, he was unable to complete.
For athletes who compete at the highest levels within motorcycle racing, injuries are the things of nightmares.
It goes without saying that the sport poses great risks to those who accept them. One small mistake over the course of a split second, can result in the end of a rider’s season, or worse.
Within racing, injuries pose much more than just physical challenges. They come shrouded in psychological difficulties – anxiety, pressure, the fear of the unknown.
For Danny Kent, 2021 was the year he made his debut appearance in the world-renowned British Superbike Championship, a class that is widely regarded as the biggest domestic racing series in the world.
Following on from achieving success in a World Championship Paddock, Kent tracked back to the UK, with buckets full of knowledge to gain.
Heading into the year with a two year deal with Buildbase Suzuki as a full time British Superbike rider, it became clear that the season ahead would be very much a year of learning and adjusting.
Kent said: “When signing the contract, the team said there wouldn’t be any expectations. I was still new to the UK tracks and the superbike isn’t the easiest of bikes to ride either. They were the opposite of what I was used to, with no anti-wheelie and no traction control, so I worked hard to get used to it.”
“It still doesn’t feel natural to me so it’s a bit of a bummer not to be able to finish the year.”
Prior to his season ending injury, Kent had a difficult start to his 2021 campaign aboard the GSXR Superbike. However, as the championship arrived at Thruxton, the champ began to find his feet. A breakthrough saw him secure three of his best race results to date, including a career first British Superbike Podium.
He added: “I expect myself to be on the podium as much as possible, but the championship is so hard and the tracks are so unique in England, it takes a lot to get used to. It was amazing to cross the line on the podium, I think if we had a few more laps a win would have been possible.”
The result no doubt filled Kent with a great deal of confidence as round five of the season at Donington Park commenced just one week later. Unfortunately, this was when his season took an unexpected turn for the worst. A crash at Coppice Corner resulted in a dislocated and fractured hip. During the incident, Kent collided with his bike causing the injury. In any other instance, the result would have been minimal.
He said: “I was made aware that it was one of the hardest fractures for the doctors to fix. From what I was told, there were only three people in the UK that could do the operation.
“It was an unlucky crash, a small mistake caused me to lose the front and go into the gravel. Normally in a crash like that, the bike goes in a separate direction, but the next minute, it landed on top of me.
“It was a really frustrating injury, we were starting to make good steps but it’s all part of racing. Thankfully I will be continuing with the team next year which takes pressure off my shoulders and makes things a lot easier for me. I can’t thank the team enough for sticking by me.”
Two separate operations went ahead to fix the dislocation and the fracture to his hip. Despite that, he has been advised to refrain from applying pressure to his leg and walk without assistance.
For anyone, the inability to stay active and move around unassisted is a less than ideal situation to be in. It for sure goes without saying that his previously active lifestyle as an elite motorsport athlete, made it much more challenging on a psychological level.
“I’m still not allowed to put weight on it which I feel like I can in all honesty. The first two or three weeks I was on liquid morphine and other painkillers. I’m currently having to take blood thinning injections because I’m not allowed to put any weight on it and I can’t put much movement through it, so there’s a risk of getting a blood clot in the leg.
Kent added: “I’m buzzing to get back to it. It’s frustrating to watch people out on track and not being able to ride myself but I know I’m not fit enough to be out there and be competitive at the moment. We’re hoping to plan to go out to Spain at the end of November and class it as a rehab ride.”
At present, it’s simply the case of waiting around to receive recommendations from doctors as to when he can begin training again. An upcoming x-ray booked in Nottingham on the 22nd of October.
In approach, hopes are high that something positive can be said, so the 27-year-old can get back to doing what he does best.