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Billy Monger: The First Amputee to Race Competitively in a Single-Seater Racing Car
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Billy Monger: The First Amputee to Race Competitively in a Single-Seater Racing Car

Teenage racing driver Billy Monger has had both of his legs amputated, but that hasn't stopped him from competing in car races again. Nicknamed “Billy the Whizz,” he got back in the driving-seat relatively soon after a horrific crash in April of 2017 while competing at Donnington Park, Leicester, UK, in a Formula Four race, where he was airlifted to the hospital following the collision.

The collision happened when Billy had his view obscured by two cars fighting for position in front of him, and as a result, he drove at high speed right into the back of a stationary car he hadn’t seen. Consequently, due to his injuries, he had to have both his legs amputated after the crash.

He is the subject of a BBC documentary, Driven: The Billy Monger Story, which follows him in the months following the crash, showing how he's adapting to using prosthetic legs and how he prepares himself to start racing again.

In an interview about the crash, Billy, now 19, says: “I realized I was in a bad way immediately. I had had accidents before, but with those, I was still able to get out of the car. When I couldn’t get out of the car this time, I knew it was going to be bad”.

In spite of having such life-changing injuries, Billy is only thinking about one thing – getting back behind the wheel in racing cars, which he has loved since the age of six.  

“Two-thirds of my life has been taken up by racing,” he comments. “I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t race again. It would be devastating.” 

He is making a really remarkable recovery, not just physically, but also in terms of his positive attitude. Amazingly, only 11 months after the fateful crash, Billy is back behind the wheel, in the driving seat of a modified car which is operated by hand controls and modified to fit his needs. One modification involves moving the brake pedal up higher so that he can brake using his leg stump. The throttle has also been replaced by a lever mounted on the steering wheel.

He is competing again in a Formula Three race, which is a step up from the category he was in before. But he is setting his sights higher still.

“My dream has always been to compete in Formula One races, and that hasn’t changed because of what has happened,” he says.  “I know it’s going to be difficult and it will be a fair few years before I get to that level. But the sooner the better!”

Image credit: www.isrgrajan.com

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