A freak accident at his own home almost ruled Matthew Rees out of the 2016 road-racing season. But after making a swift recovery the Aberdare based motorbike racer is more than ready to take on the Isle of Man TT course.
“I had an accident back at home where I fell and landed on my back awkwardly”, said Rees. “I crushed two vertebrae and fractured the spine which has held me back a lot”.
After overcoming the injury throughout the spring, Rees arrived at the TT with high hopes after previous success around the famous Mountain course. Rees began his career on circuits before switching to road racing in 2014 at the Manx Grand Prix.
“I went to the Manx and we had a decent newcomers result, finishing 6th and lapping at 115.9 mph. That was a good result and I progressed onto the TT the following year”.
A crash at the North West 200 halted the Welshman at last years’ TT despite a number of top fifty finishes. The accident would certainly affect many people but Rees explained how a road racer recovers, he said: “You blank things out. As soon as you get on the bike you blank things out, you focus on what corners are coming up and what’s coming up ahead of you”.
The 32 year old added: “I don’t really get nervous, I don’t really shake. I just think what I’m going to be doing and try to improve throughout the week”.
As a privateer, winning a TT is out of the picture and for many, finishing a race is a realistic and highly commendable target. “We would like to get into the 120mph bracket this year on the 600. On the 1000cc bike we’ve had a lot of problems with set up, the fuel tank hasn’t been big enough, but as we speak that’s being modified, so hopefully tonight we’ll complete two laps and get some good results hopefully”.
Rees will line up for Saturday’s six lap RST Superbike race on board his Phil Morris Racing Kawasaki Ninja machine. During Thursday nights’ practice session, Rees recorded a time of 19 minutes 8 seconds, giving him an average lap speed of 118.2 mph.
Still recovering from January’s freak accident, Rees has been seeing help from Scott’s Physiotherapy. Rees was full of praise for the company, saying: “They’ve really helped me out and without them I’d really be struggling, and I think a lot of the riders would be struggling without them, I come out there feeling great “.
The Aberdare man will also ride in the Supersport races on Monday and Wednesday, and will also be on board an electric machine in the TT Zero race. “I got the electric bike this year for Bath University. The guys have worked really hard and I hope everything pulls together ready for next year, which is really exciting. Hopefully things will go well.”