Hero is, in my humble opinion, one of those words that is far too over used in the modern world and the currency of hero has been degraded now. So much so someone simply holding a door open for someone is “my hero” now. I found this definition from a simple google search
Hero – a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
Now one area I do feel superlatives are too often banded about is in the world of sport. So when true heroes appear they can get lost in the noise. People like Mo Farrah who came from the humblest and most traumatic of early life beginnings to be top of the world representing the country that gave him refuge. He’s a hero.
Here is a tale of one other. If you aren’t a follower of motorbike racing esp road racing he probably has slipped by. But let me tell you about Ian Hutchinson.
“Hutchy” as he is known is a quietly spoken seemingly gentle Yorkshireman. In 2010 he achieved a feat that few had ever thought was possible – he won essentially a clean sweep of all the races held at the Isle of Man TT meeting. He won the Superbike, both Supersport races, the Superstock race and the Senior TT (on a superbike again). So 5 races, three different classes of bike. The only races he didn’t win were the two sidecar races – obviously and the TT Zero for electric bikes which had its inaugural run that year. But if it has two wheels and a petrol engine Hutchy was unbeatable that year. Now that was unprecedented and a phenomenal achievement. So as I said a legend and a man with a record that will be hard to match – if it ever is.
Road racing involves you jumping on hugely powerful bikes and throwing yourself down a standard road with lampposts, walls, gutters, manhole covers etc. at ridiculous speed. The average lap speed of the top guys on a superbike at IoM is 130mph. It is supremely dangerous and all too sadly many years riders do lose their lives or have horrendous crashes. Unlike circuit racing there isn’t the run off areas, the specially designed barriers to absorb the impact etc. So it was with huge irony that later in 2010 whilst competing in a British Superbike Race Hutchy had a horrendous crash. In the wet he crashed at Silverstone and was hit by another rider suffering severe injuries to his left leg. There were discussions about amputation below the knee at one point. He underwent surgery after surgery – 16 different operations in one year and 30 to date I believe.
He returned to racing and to the IoM but was dogged by issues related to the injuries and not always on the best machinery. This year he has returned to the IoM as near to fully fit as his leg will ever now let him. He came second in the Superbike race – again simply an amazing comeback. Then… the next day….
He won the Supersport event. Then the Superstock event. There is still the rest of the week to go – he can’t equal his 5 wins in a year but frankly…. I wouldn’t bet against 4! In victory still astride the bike as he sat in the winners enclosure he dedicated the wins to the team of medical surgeons who helped get him back to fitness. They are heroes too but for me Hutchy is close to an insurmountable legend and an inspiration for anyone faced with adversity.
This video shows an interview with him from 2012 when he first returned to the IoM
This second is on board footage of him hussling a bike around the IOM… nuts! BTW this footage is not speeded up – it may look like it but that is 200mph down a normal street!
Lastly the emotional press conference after his win this year