By Richard Baxter
From being relatively unheard of, Billy Monger has become a household name over the last few weeks. Unfortunately this wasn’t down to his race craft – but the horrendous crash he was involved in at Donnington in the British Formula 4 race series.
To have both legs amputated at the age of 17 is something unimaginable for most people. But the severity of the incident and the resulting injuries has really united all forms of motorsport, with many drivers from all around the world showing their support.
It has been said publicly how Billy, despite his injuries, is still planning to compete in motor racing following his recovery and the world of motorsport has shown full encouragement for this – as seen by the crowdfunding page set up for Monger, which smashed through the £260,000 target with ease.
We have seen in the past many people work around their disability to achieve something remarkable in all forms of sport – and specifically in motorsport, where Nic Hamilton has taken on his cerebral palsy to compete in various motorsport series in the last few years.
Alessandro Zanardi’s story is truly inspiring, suffering injuries similar to Billy’s before making a return to motor racing and then competing in other sports – including becoming a Paralympic champion.
It really goes to show that if you have the commitment, you can really achieve the seemingly impossible.
And personally, with my own father being blind, I have seen many times that if you truly have the passion and drive for something, then no matter what might get in your way it is achievable.
With what has happened to Billy Monger, his subsequent outlook on the whole situation makes him a true inspiration – clearly evident at Silverstone during the British Grand Prix, when Monger was an invited guest of Lewis Hamilton:
“He has come out of hospital, actually he had an operation yesterday and he is here today. This week he had been having operations. His mind-set, his mentality, he’s inspiring so many people who have issues whether it’s disability or had incidents and even for people like myself. I think he’s frigging awesome…He’s already racing and already back in the racing car, a bit like Alex Zanardi who for me blows my mind. I think he’s just an incredible human being, he’s gone onto win gold medals and I know this kid is going to do the same thing.”
Wouldn’t it be great to get the FIA or TOCA to arrange mainstream coverage of a motor racing series set up specifically for disabled drivers to compete?
We at The NR F1 Podcast continue to wish all the best to Billy and his family and hope to see him racing again soon. He’s already an inspiration to so many, and to us. #BillyWhizz
♦ Richard Baxter is a member of The NR F1 Podcast crew. You can follow Rich on Twitter @bax_kid